In celebration of ten years of raising hope and resources to aid cancer research, care and survivorship across The Bahamas, Ride for Hope is excited to announce details about next year’s 10th Anniversary event: a Gran Fondo.
The Ride for Hope Gran Fondo, a long-distance road cycling event in which participants ride a marked route, will be held on Saturday, February 18th, 2017 in Eleuthera. The Ride will be staged at Coco di Mama resort in Governor’s Harbour. Rider participation levels will be linked directly to the amount of funds each rider raises, and each rider’s promotional package and recognition will also be based on the funds they raise.
Susan Larson, co-founder of The Ride for Hope, said, “The Ride For Hope is a fundraiser. We garner funds together to meaningfully impact a critical cause, and eradicate cancer from our shores. Our riders’ donations help save lives every day, and we are committed to helping riders do so by putting on a high-caliber event in 2017.”
After a successful event in Nassau, RFH is returning to its roots – organizationally and geographically. Larson explained that “returning to its roots” means focusing solely on the Ride’s main goals. “Those goals,’ said Larson, “ are, firstly, planning a safe event for all participants, while ensuring funds are raised for an extremely important cause in The Bahamas. And, secondly, hosting the event in Eleuthera, one of the most beautiful and accessible cycling venues in the country.”
Larson continued that the burdens of cancer care and treatment are great and demand a partnership between all public and private stakeholders. She stated that cancer treatments are extremely expensive, and frequently beyond the ability of families across the nation to pay, and that cancer treatment regimes often create deep and lasting financial stress for families involved, at the very least.
Considered one of the most successful fundraising events in The Bahamas, the Ride for Hope has raised close to $3,000,000 since its inception. Given meaningful corporate sponsorship, every dollar raised by participants goes to fund programmes created and supported by Ride for Hope to assist Bahamians in the fight against cancer, through education, testing, early-screening, research and direct financial assistance.
Ride for Hope has used those funds to assist the Cancer Society in paying off the mortgage incurred building the acclaimed Cancer Care Centre on Collins Avenue in Nassau, and complete their headquarters in Eleuthera; and to create and maintain the Treatment Assistance Fund, the first of its kind in the country, which supports cancer patients with their treatment costs through financial grants. Ride for Hope funds the Cancer Society’s nationwide Cancer Education Program, a grassroots outreach effort that sends trained nurses to communities throughout The Bahamas to educate, raise awareness, and teach self-screening and good health choices. The Family Islands Mammogram Screening Program (FIMS) is another ongoing Ride For Hope programme, which brings women from family islands to New Providence for free mammogram screening. Ride for Hope also made a major contribution to the purchase of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation’s digital mammography machine. “We are grateful for our riders, sponsors and volunteers who have made all of this possible”, said Larson.
However, Stephen Holowesko, co-founder with his sister, explained that while the number of riders participating in Ride for Hope has increased steadily over the years, the dollars raised per rider has decreased dramatically. “Since inception, the rider count has increased an astonishing 450 percent, yet funds raised per rider have gone down 71 percent,” said Holowesko. “This reality has made the Ride’s organizers take pause and strategically consider the best way to fulfill our pledge both to our riders for a safe ride, and to our commitment to raising funds.”
“To help achieve our goals, fundraising will be linked to the experience and will need to be raised, and submitted, in advance,” explained Karen Eldon, Ride for Hope Administrator. “For all participation levels, the Registration Fee of $50.00 is required at the time of registration. Registration closes on Friday, January 13th, 2017. All fundraising money must be submitted no later than Friday, January 20th, 2017,” said Eldon.
Larson also shared news of various prizes being offered at next year’s event. “We also are excited to announce that the top four fundraisers will be recognized. Prizes include round trip transportation to and from Eleuthera, a new bicycle, a spa package, or dinner for two at one of Nassau’s finest restaurants.” Eldon stated that to qualify for award levels, fundraising totals must be submitted by the January 20th deadline and winners will be announced at the High Carb dinner in Eleuthera.
Registration will open on Thursday, September 29, when Ride for Hope’s new website is launched. When registering online, Ride for Hope accepts MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards. A registered charity in The Bahamas, Bahamian dollar cheques, payable to Ride for Hope, and cash, may be delivered to the Ride for Hope office at the Templeton Building in Lyford Cay, or at Cycles Unlimited on Mackey Street, Nassau. US dollar cheques may be made payable to the Bahamas Hope Foundation (a 501(c)(3) organization) and also delivered to our office or Cycles Unlimited.
All of the details of the Gran Fondo event, for participants, sponsors and volunteers, is available on Ride for Hope’s new website: www.rideforhopebahamas.com.
No matter if you are a confident cyclist and go out on rides frequently, or if you are returning to your bike after many months, or even years of not riding, you should prepare for Ride For Hope in the same way – by considering safety, doing equipment checks and training.
Safety is extremely important as the ride takes place on the open roads of Nassau. Obeying the laws and always wearing a helmet are simple steps to a safe day out! The helmet, such a simple piece of equipment, has saved so many people from suffering a more serious injury.
Here are some fantastic top tips for safer cycling:
- Be aware of the driver’s blind spot when passing trucks and buses. It’s often safer to hang back
- Pay attention to what is going on around you and be aware of what other road users might do
- Try to make eye contact with drivers so that you know they have seen you
- Ride assertively, away from the gutter or edge of the road. If the road is too narrow for vehicles to pass you safely, it may be better to ride in the middle of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking
- Ride in a straight line past parked cars, rather than dodge between them
- Wait in front of other vehicles at traffic lights, if possible.
- Don’t ride through red lights.
- Use appropriate hand signals when making a left or right turn
- Wear bright clothing in the day and reflective clothing or accessories at night
- Use lights after dark; white at front and red at rear.
- Always wear a helmet!
Cycles Unlimited is proud to once again support the Ride For Hope. If you don’t know where to begin when it comes to cycling, browse our site or the internet for tips, or visit Cycles Unlimited store on Mackey Street for some personal, one-to-one advice.
It’s also important to ensure your bike is in good working order PRIOR to the event.
Ride For Hope will offer a complimentary safety check on your bike on Friday, Feb. 6th, and Saturday, Feb. 7th, (before the ride on Sunday, Feb. 8th). Due to the large volume of participants’ bikes to be checked, RFH is unable to offer any repairs.
So, if you have any concerns at all about your equipment, it’s best to have Cycles Unlimited tune-it-up before the event.
Note: This is not a race, and it doesn’t matter how far you ride.
That being said, no matter what distance you are cycling, it’s always best to prepare beforehand. Make sure you go out on your bike regularly before the event to build up your stamina. Ensure you stretch extensively before every ride, and then try to increase the distance you are cycling week on week. A little extra effort goes a long way on the day!
Since inception of the Ride for Hope in 2006, a combined 2,315 riders have peddled over 50,000 miles and raised over $2.1 million. Last year saw 620 riders, almost 200 volunteers, and hundreds of spectators come out for a spectacular day, which raised a record $426,748.
Ride for Hope is a healthy event, a family event, and a community event. We are blessed with tremendous corporate support that has completely underwritten the cost of the Ride each year. This has allowed us to ensure that every single dollar raised by our riders goes directly to the programmes created and supported by the Ride For Hope.
Our goals for the Ride are simple: 1) We wish to have a safe, quality event, one that inspires the respect and loyalty of our riders and corporate sponsors; 2) We seek to deploy those funds raised by our riders in the most direct, cost-effective way possible to benefit Bahamians in their fight against cancer.
In this respect, the growth of the Ride for Hope from 98 riders in 2006 to 620 riders last year is a testament that we continue to achieve our goals. One of our founding sponsors has credited Ride for Hope Bahamas with “doing what we say we’re going to do and following up transparently.” We work hard to ensure the quality of the event and integrity with disbursement of the funds raised.
In our first three years we used the funds raised by Ride For Hope to pay off the mortgage incurred by the Cancer Society in building the acclaimed Cancer Caring Centre on Collins Avenue, in Nassau, a place were people can stay for cancer treatment and also receive the network of support they need from other patients and survivors. Relieving the Cancer Society of the burden of its mortgage also helped free the organization to return to its core activities and the Society has enjoyed significant growth throughout The Bahamas in the years since.
After detailed analysis of the cancer challenges facing Bahamians, Ride for Hope Bahamas created the innovative Family Island Mammogram Screening (FIMS) Programme, which brings at-risk Family Island women to Nassau for mammograms and any needed follow-up. FIMS provides tremendous grassroots leverage. To date, FIMS has helped women from Andros, Exuma, San Salvador, Cat Island, Grand Bahama, and Eleuthera. Over 1,100 under-served Bahamian women have received their first mammogram, helping them take preliminary steps towards continued good health, and bringing back confidence and empowerment to other women in their rural communities. Ten percent of these women have had follow-up biopsies and treatment. FIMS is administered by the Cancer Society, with generous support from the airlines, Doctor’s Hospital, and Dr. Larry Carroll. This programme is in its 4th year, and is a $100,000/year commitment by Ride for Hope. We have ambitions to spread this programme to all Family Islands and New Providence (pilot programme already underway), and one day provide mammograms to all Bahamian women in need.
Ride for Hope Bahamas created the Cancer Treatment Assistance Fund, the first of its kind in the country, which is administered by the Cancer Society. The Fund supports cancer patients with their treatment costs through financial grants and is currently a $100,000/year commitment by Ride for Hope Bahamas. As proud as we are of the current capacity of the Fund, it is painfully obvious that not only do so many people need more assistance than the Fund is able to give them but sadly we cannot currently help everyone in need.
Ride for Hope Bahamas is funding the Cancer Society’s nationwide Cancer Education Program. This is another grassroots programme that sends a trained nurse/educator to rural communities throughout The Bahamas to educate, raise awareness, and teach self-screening and good health choices. In its first 2 years, this programme has directly connected with an estimated 11,595 students and 2,635 adults. This is another $100,000/year commitment by the Ride for Hope, and the programme is having a tremendously positive impact.
Ride for Hope Bahamas made a $150,000 grant to fund genetic testing into the prevalence of the cancer-causing BRCA1 gene mutation in Bahamian women. This study led to the discovery that Bahamian women have the highest-known incidence in the world of this gene mutation that causes breast cancer. Understanding this awful biological legacy will help us make intelligent public health decisions that will save lives, and further help scientists in their quest to find a cure for breast cancer. Too, it has been one of the driving forces for the creation of programmes like FIMS. To date, 535 Bahamian women have been genetically tested for the BRACA1 gene, as part of the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative program seeded by the Ride for Hope.
Most recently, the Ride for Hope contributed $130,000 to complete the purchase of a new digital mammography machine at Princess Margaret Hospital. This state of the art piece of equipment will help more people get early screening and better imaging to aid detection and diagnosis.
Ride For Hope also provides a significant economic boost to the island of Eleuthera. Close to 1,000 people arrive on island for the Ride, spending their money on air and boat travel, hotels, taxis, home and car rentals, restaurants, and direct sales to vendors on Friday night and the Apres Ride Festival at Bayfront Park on event day. This is tremendous goodwill and powerful publicity.
This extraordinary suite of programmes is being made possible because of you. Whether you are a corporate sponsor helping to underwrite event costs, a volunteer helping to make the day go safely and enjoyably for the cyclists, or a rider putting in 10 or 100 miles you should feel a huge sense of pride for the role you play in the success of the Ride for Hope.