Suzy Becker and her team of cyclists and supporters take a break during a past Ride FAR bike-a-thon.
In 1989, greeting card company owner Suzy Becker was driven to take part in the national HIV and AIDS effort. “Fueled by a sense of injustice,” Suzy and her coworkers organized Ride For AIDS Resources (Ride FAR), the first HIV/AIDS bike-a-thon in the United States. Suzy and her team of 13 cyclists made a five-day, 100-miles-a-day ride through New England to raise awareness, compassion, and funding for children and adults living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. More than two decades later, Ride FAR is the longest continuously-running HIV/AIDS bike-a-thon in the nation, and as of 2009, the biennial event has raised more than $1,100,000 to support HIV/AIDS service organizations, including EGPAF.
While researching potential new recipients of Ride FAR funds in 1997, Suzy came across EGPAF’s national Emergency Assistance Program and chose to support us. Suzy’s passion for EGPAF continued following the expansion of our programs internationally, and Ride FAR funds were dedicated to helping EGPAF increase its global efforts to reduce the rates of mother-to-child transmission and to expand access to treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. Since Suzy first designated EGPAF as a recipient of Ride FAR funds, the bike-a-thon has raised nearly $300,000 for EGPAF programs in both the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, including the development of EGPAF programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The way I see it, EGPAF spends its time and money doing the world’s best work preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS, and that’s all the motivation I need to spend my time raising money and awareness for them,” Suzy says.
Thinking back on her years of devotion to Ride FAR and the organizations it supports, Suzy recalls that her dedication to service began when she was a young girl. As a child, Suzy wrote in her journal that when she grew up, she wanted to write books and make a difference—and she has certainly fulfilled both of these goals. In addition to her long-time commitment to Ride FAR, Suzy recently wrote her eighth book, Kids Make It Better: A Write-in, Draw-in Journal, which she hopes will inspire children to become involved in making the world a better place. While the book is meant for children, Suzy says its message is meant for people of all ages: “Just do it. Pick one problem and do something concrete about it. Identify and use your skills, talents, and passions in the process – they will make your energy go further.” For more information on Ride FAR and Suzy, visit Ride FAR and www.suzybecker.com