November 17 - November 18
Riding Your Bike to Make a Difference in Florida - November 17 & 18, 2017
The SMART Ride is a 2-day, 165 mile bike ride from Miami to Key West to raise funds to support HIV/AIDS services in Florida. SMART Ride 14, will happen on November 17 & 18, 2017 and the organizers hope to raise $1,000,000. What makes the SMART Ride unique is that 100% of what the riders and crew raise is distributed to frontline agencies working with those infected, affected and at-risk for HIV in our state. Since its’ inception, in 2003, more than $8.5 million has been given to these agencies.
Here in South Florida the agencies that directly benefit from the Ride include Broward House and Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Broward County, Pridelines in Miami/Dade County, Compass Community Center in Palm Beach County and AIDS Help in Monroe County. In 2016 these agencies received about $675,000 to support programs in our communities.
Many ask the question “is HIV/AIDS still a thing” and the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Florida is the number one state for the total number of new infections in the United States and Miami/Dade and Broward counties have largest numbers of newly infected. In 2016 newly diagnosed cases were reported in individuals from the early teens to 70+. While tremendous inroads have been made in the treatment and prevention of HIV, we still do not have a cure or 100% affective protection.
Broward House CEO Stacy Hyde notes, “The funds from the SMART Ride are vital to our work in the community. They allow us to meet basic needs of our clients that grant dollars often do not cover.” Many of the individuals who are provided services across Florida are uninsured or have only minimal coverage; they fall into the low- to moderate- income categories and often struggle with having safe and affordable housing. Both in newly diagnosed and long-term survivors we also are seeing increasing co-morbidity issues including depression, chronic mental illness, poor nutrition, non-HIV related cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, substance abuse and more. Hyde states, “Our challenge is to ensure we are taking a comprehensive approach to health. We cannot just focus on HIV medication if individuals are going to lead full, productive, healthy lives.”
If you would like to learn more about riding, crewing, sponsoring or donating to the SMART Ride check out their website at thesmartride.org. You can make a difference and it is as simple as riding a bike.