The holiday season is in full-swing. Since I am avoiding retail stores like the plague, my attention focuses on charity like it does for so many others during the holidays. Like in years past, my family has foregone the gift giving madness and made our monetary donation to the local food reservoir—it is amazing how much relief these organizations can provide with each dollar donated. This year, however, I turned my gaze a little bit more outward.
Over the years I have followed the blog Fat Cyclist for a variety of reasons. It started out when my wife lost her father to kidney cancer and I lost my mother to lung cancer with the span of a year. Here was someone who had dealt with loss due to cancer and loved bicycles. Seemed like a kindred spirit.
As time has passed, I have admired the work that the eponymous Fat Cyclist has done in the name of charity. There is the to be expected fund raising on behalf of cancer charities, but the one effort that I identify with the most is the fund raising for World Bicycle Relief.
For those of you unfamiliar with World Bicycle Relief please head over to their website and read up. It is a very worthy cause. The short version is that the organization donates bicycles and the means to keep those bicycles operational to communities in need. A particular focus area is providing bicycles to health care workers in order to increase the reach of these desperately needed providers of care. The mission may seem simple, but the impact is enormous.
Last year, Fat Cyclist put together a fund raising drive—Grand Slam for Zambia—that raised almost $159K for World Bicycle Relief. That dollar value is equivalent to approximately 340 bicycles that have the capability of changing someone’s life in a positive way.
For 2012, Fat Cyclist is back at it again with Grand Slam for Zambia 2. The goal this year is to raise $125K, which will be matched dollar for dollar for a total impact of $250K. What does that mean? It will buy 1300 bikes and train 260 mechanics to keep the bikes in operation. Damn!
If you want an idea of what this can mean to a community, check out the post where some of the bicycles are distributed.
This year I am going to jump in and help a little bit. A donation of $134 is considered to be the equivalent of one bicycle. I have made my donation of that amount. There is no requirement to donate any set amount, but it seemed only right to donate an amount that I could equivocate to something tangible.