Patrons' event March 22 for annual AIDS vaccine bike ride

Co-ride directors Tina Chang and Chris Bess
Co-ride directors Tina Chang and Chris Bess
The 12th ride of the Action Cycling Atlanta AIDS Vaccine 200, which benefits AIDS vaccine research at Emory Vaccine Center and local AIDS service organizations, holds patrons party March 22 and announces new one-day ride options and new board members

Action Cycling Atlanta (www.ActionCycling.org) is having a Patrons’ Party Saturday, March 22, at the home of Mark Edge (886 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30309), from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. To RSVP or for more information about the event, Jessi.Arnidis@Emory.edu or 404-727-4878.

The 12th annual AV200, which will take place May 17-18, is produced by the all-volunteer Action Cycling and travels from Emory University to Eatonton, Ga. in the Oconee National Forest and back to Emory. Participants include individual riders and relay teams, with support from a volunteer crew. The group wants 250 cyclists to join the two-day, 200-mile AIDS Vaccine 200 (AV200) ride to benefit AIDS vaccine research at the Emory Vaccine Center and local AIDS service organizations.

Thus far the AV200 rides have raised more than $1.6 million for the Emory Vaccine Center, AIDS Athens, Jerusalem House and Positive Impact. This year AID Atlanta is being added as a beneficiary. “Thanks to our generous sponsors and patrons, Action Cycling is able to donate 100 percent of all funds raised by participants to local AIDS service organizations and AIDS vaccine research,” says Bret Bush, who serves on the group’s board, and is its former president. “These unrestricted funds fill funding gaps that cannot be met through grant dollars alone. "

Potential AV200 sponsors should attend the March 22 event or contact Dr. Craig Fisk, sponsorship@actioncycling.org or 914-582-0344.

Also, new this year, Action Cycling Atlanta has added two one-day rides: There will be a 30-mile Rally Ride and a 62-mile Metric Century. “The two rides were added because some people expressed interest in riding but are intimidated by the 200-mile course, or simply can’t take two days away from family or work,” says Chris Bess, Co-Ride Director, “so the one-day rides are two great alternatives. No matter which course a rider chooses, each promises to challenge and inspire.” Both one-day rides will take place on Sunday, May 18, and will leave from Emory University.

Action Cycling also recently added new Board Members: Tina Chang, Director of Communications and Web Development, Office of Residence Life and Housing, Emory University; Stephen Frangis, Director, Finance, Emory University; Bryant Gresham, a Realtor with Re/Max Metro Atlanta; Adrian J. (A.J.) Long, who works in marketing/communications for TowBlazer, Inc.; and Ken Mallernee, an attorney with the Real Estate, Development & Construction group at Taylor English Duma LLP. They join other board members: Chris Bess, Bret Busch, Leon Morales, Paul Saros and Greg Shoemake. Chang and Bess are this year’s Co-Ride Directors.

The Action Cycling Board descriptor notes that, “We are cyclists from diverse backgrounds, gay and straight, who have common interests: pushing ourselves physically, having a good time, building strong friendships and working for good causes. We are enthusiastic and committed people who challenge and support one another to achieve goals in fitness, personal growth, and philanthropy. We believe that together we can achieve more for ourselves and our community than what we, as individuals, could even imagine.”

“Last year we raised $304,000, we’re excited about our goal of raising $350,000 this year, and will again have a lot of fun doing it,” says Co-Ride Director Tina Chang. Registration for the AV200 itself is open - regardless of whether or not riders attend the March 22 Patrons’ Party: www.AV200.org. For more information about the AV200 ride, or to donate, visit www.ActionCycling.org. Action Cycling’s goal is to create a world without AIDS.

“Building public awareness for HIV/AIDS vaccine research is challenging,” Bess says. “Raising money for an AIDS Vaccine is difficult. And making the commitment to accept these challenges is a serious one, but we make it fun – and rewarding – by creating great events throughout the year leading up to the big ride itself.”

For more information about the Emory Vaccine Center, visit http://vaccines.emory.edu. The Emory Vaccine Center is one of the largest academic vaccine centers in the world and is renowned for its expertise in cellular immunity and immune memory. 


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