Ride across Belize provides monetary relief to organizations

The Social Security Board’s sixth annual Ride across Belize kicked off today. It’s a four day event that takes participating riders from the northernmost district, Corozal, to Punta Gorda in the deep south. But it’s not just for a prize or the exercise. Funds raised during the ride are donated to different organizations and this year there are three recipients on the list. The Cancer Society, Nurses Association and Blood Donors Association will all benefit from some much needed financial assistance at the end of the ride. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was at the Social Security Board’s Belize City office when the cyclists made their first stop.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting
Cyclists of all ages suited up to pedal the first leg of this year’s Ride Across Belize. The participants came from the Corozal District to Belize City this morning and the Social Security Board was well represented.

Dr. Ramon Figueroa, Organizer, Ride Across Belize
“A group of us started the whole thing about six years ago—I think 2004 we did the first one. A group of us who used to be weekend riders, we would do off-road riding and we came up with the idea that why not do something we like that’s fun, that’s healthy and at the same time try to raise some funds for worthwhile projects and that’s the whole idea how the whole the came up.”

Chandra Nisbet-Cansino, Committee Member, Ride Across Belize
“I think we can safely say that everybody in Belize knows someone who has cancer or who has died of cancer. We are also riding for the nurses association who are the people who really take care of the patients that are terminally ill with cancer. So they are two causes that we thought were very important and actually go together.”

According to Dr. Ramon Figueroa, the number of participants has grown each year, and today the mix of riders included a wide range of professions; from the usual cyclists to politicians, doctors and even a justice.

Justice Denys Barrow, Participant, Ride Across Belize
“It sounded like it would have been fun and I thought it was a good challenge. It’s good psychologically to boost your training so.”

Delahnie Bain
“You participate in the ride before?”

Justice Denys Barrow
“No this is the first time. Friend mentioned it and it sparked my interest and peaked my imagination so.”

Delahnie Bain
“You plan to do it again?”

Denys Barrow
“Oh, absolutely, it’s a lovely thing.”

Delahnie Bain
“Why did you decide to come out and ride today?”

Cito Lopez, Participant, Ride Across Belize
“Well, cause I have lot ah friend weh do it so I just want try it and I like it.”

Delahnie Bain
“So you plan to come back next year?”

Cito Lopez
“I plan to come back tomorrow.”

Edmond Castro, Participant, Ride Across Belize
“This is my second year. This year I basically did this one because I remember my friend Verna that has lung cancer and I hope she gets well.”

The riders arrived in Belize City at around eleven-thirty, but that was not the end of activities for the day. A ceremony was held to hand over symbolic donations to the Cancer Society as well as the Volunteer Blood Donors and Nurses Associations.

Laura Longsworth, Vice President, Belize Cancer Society
“We selected several projects that we want to focus on, the biggest being printing of brochures and producing videos for education. In addition to that we also indicated that we wanted to work to strengthen the curriculum for nursing.”

Delahnie Bain
“Have you decided what the funds will be used for?”

Ronald Stuart, 1st Vice Pres., Bz Volunteer Blood Donors Assn.
“Our ongoing public education. We reach out to organizations, companies, employers and community groups to share with them what is involved in the process of being a donor, the health benefits for being a donor.”

Lydia Alpuche-Blake, President, Nurses Association of Belize
“One of our major goals after seeing what the nursing profession was going on, we had said that we wanted to build an extension to our building to serve as a resource center, a library a conference room and a training session area for nurses.”

The organizations will know the exact amount of funds they are receiving when the Ride across Belize concludes in Punta Gorda on Sunday. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The funds raised by the event will be matched by the Social Security Board.
Channel 5