2006-12-21 / Letters to the Editor

Bike race is a fund raiser

We are writing to support the Jamestown Rotary’s efforts in organizing and managing the Columbus Day Bicycle Race. Many people are unaware of the philanthropic goal of this race and how money that is earned from it is put to use.

As members of Northeast Optometric Services to Humanity, we are acutely aware of the importance of fund-raising activities such as the bicycle race. We have been running optometric, medical, dental, and audiological clinics in Nicaragua, which is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, second only to Haiti. Two years ago, we began to work with the Wheelchair Foundation to supply wheelchairs to this impoverished population. Family members carry their crippled loved ones to the clinic to receive one of the 280 wheelchairs that are supplied. We are required to pay for these wheelchairs at a reduced rate through the Wheelchair Foundation. A container of wheelchairs is then shipped to our clinic site, where we bring physical and occupational therapists and other volunteers to appropriately fit people to their new chairs.

This year’s race required a great deal of work from the Rotary. As a result, a challenging and professional competition took place.

We gratefully received $7,500 as a donation from the Jamestown Rotary directly from the race earnings. This contribution has allowed us to continue ordering and delivering wheelchairs. Without this donation, it would likely not be possible .

Carl Sakovits, OD Joseph England, MD

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