Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer check-in from Dave Fish at Harvard...

Hi, Everyone:

I hope everyone's summer is going well, and that you have some nice things to look forward to still. Our summer tennis camps have been going very well - the kids start as young as four years old and boy, are they adorable!

Bonnie and I, in addition to our 4am wake up for camp (Bonnie's will power, I can assure you, not mine!), we've also been bicycling to and from our home most days to Harvard, and putting in some long hours on the weekend in preparation for a 125 mi (one day) bicycle ride on behalf of an orphanage for AID kids in Thailand. We've never done close to this distance, so we are counting on all of your good thoughts to move us along with a wind at our backs!

Our connection to this wonderful event is indeed personal. Michael Masland, Bonnie's son, is a film producer for National Geographic. He did some of the filming in Cambodia for a wonderful movie on AIDS, "A Closer Walk." Michael's fiancee's uncle is a priest in Thailand. He's been caring for greater and greater numbers of children with AIDs who have been orphaned or abandoned. Ceboride is named after Cebo, a beautiful little girl who typifies the struggle these kids face. You can read more detail about their story at:

Should you be inclined to give back a little bit of the joy you have probably been experiencing this summer, Bonnie and I would certainly love to have you donate something, however modest, towards our ride. Every penny goes to the kids' for medicine and education. All costs of the ride are assumed by riders and families who support the event in Wisconsin.

Michael's letter below tells it better than mine. Yes, on behalf of the kids, we would be ever so grateful if you could send in a contribution, however small, even if it's only to make me sweat as much as I may have made you sweat! The ride is this Saturday, July 14th. It does mean getting a stamp and writing a check now if possible. But if you miss the deadline but meant to help, please do it anyway. All the money goes to the children...

Thanks, Friends,


*100% of the donations are transferred directly to Sarnelli House. All donations are tax deductible.
Checks can be made out to: "Friends of Sarnelli House UA"
Please mail checks before July 10, 2007 to:
Cebo Ride Account Manager
Maggie Shea
N5350 Ledgetop Dr.
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Michael's letter:
Dear Friends,

This summer I have again decided to spend a day biking to raise money for AIDS orphans living in an a group of three orphanages called Sarnelli House in Don Vai, Thailand. Last year's ride was amazing. Thank you for all of your support! The team of 29 riders raised over $100,000; an incredible example of grassroots fund raising. This year looks to be just as successful.

The CeboRide is named for a young girl living with HIV/AIDS. Neglected and then abandoned by her family, she was brought to Sarnelli House at the age of 6. Words can't describe the spirit and personality she shares with those around her. She is now nearly twelve. She constantly battles complications from living with the HIV/AIDS. With the medicines and food bought from donations given to CeboRide and the love and nurturing from the staff, she continues to fight against the disease and dance at as many celebrations as she can.

A young couple, Molly and Sam Mueller, met this amazing girl on a four-month trip they took to Thailand. After meeting Cebo and working in the orphanages, they felt compelled to help and organized the first ride in 2002. The past four CeboRides combined have brought in over $140,000. Due this success, Sarnelli House has been able to buy antiretroviral AIDS medicine. It has also helped cover the cost of the orphans' food, daily living supplies, and costly hospital trips. However, Sarnelli House runs solely on private donations and house over 110 children. With a little help from a lot of people, we can make sure the loving staff at Sarnelli House can continue to care for Cebo and all her buddies.

My own interest and passion for working to combat HIV/AIDS developed from filming in Cambodia for the documentary A Closer Walk. For this film, I interviewed commercial sex workers in Phnom Penh fighting for their dignity as they battled against the ravages of HIV/AIDS. As well, I went to an orphanage similar to Sarnelli House run by Buddhist monks in the north of the country. Here children -- abandoned, stigmatized, isolated and destitute -- were given a second chance. Hearing their laughter echoing through the temples as they kicked soccer balls was music for the soul.

Here is a quote from the organizers:
"We bike for Cebo and all of the other children that can't bike the distance. We bike together as a team trying to treat one another as Cebo would… and laugh a lot as Cebo does. We bike for a better life for the children at Sarnelli House and a few more birthday parties in their lives. We already know that all of us together have literally made a difference in their lives. Please don't wait for a better world, a better day…Please help these children by sponsoring us in the CeboRide today."

Please take time and pledge something in support for this worthy cause. Thank you for your help,

Mike Masland

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