September 11, 2008

Going the extra miles for AIDS, School of Medicine gives it their all

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Going the extra miles for AIDS during Case for Community Day has new meaning for a group of faculty members, students and staff from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. They will participate on Friday, September 19 and 20, in the North to South Ohio AIDS Charity Ride as part of their campus service.

Teaming up with sponsor Diagnostic HYBRIDS, approximately 15 riders will begin a two-day, 200-mile trip from Peninsula to Athens to raise more than $20,000 and bring awareness for the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland and the AIDS Taskforce of Athens.

The bike trip is just one way for Case Western Reserve University faculty, staff and students to give on Friday, September 19, during the campus-wide service day, Case for Community Day. Opportunities exist for volunteers to donate supplies for students in neighborhood schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, canned goods for the Cleveland Foodbank, blood for the American Red Cross in Thwing Student Center or sign up for Charity Choice campaign, the annual drive to support nonprofit organizations in the area through payroll deductions or contributions.

The charity ride is looking for volunteers to drive support cars on Friday and Saturday to protect the riders and transport equipment and luggage. They also need people experienced in making bike repairs such as flat tires and broken chains.

Eric Arts, associate professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases, is co-organizing the bike trip with Geoff Morgan, the vice president and chief financial officer for Diagnostic HYBRIDS. Arts has developed technology that Diagnostic HYBRID has under commercialization through a $5-million Third Frontier grant.

Diagnostic HYBRID, headquartered in Athens, develops and manufactures cell-based diagnostic and detection products for a range of viral diseases. The company is providing the accommodations and logistical support along the trek.

The bike ride raises awareness for the disease that infects nearly 40 million people and kills approximately 2 million people annually. Donations in support of the bike ride can be made directly to the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland through their Web site. In addition to the ride, the group will also be auctioning on e-bay three Lance Armstrong autographed biking jerseys.

"I am thrilled to link up two activities I am very passionate about in my life," said Arts. ""However working on new technologies for viral diagnostics maybe easier than going up and down hills for 200 miles."

This will be the first long distance trip for the avid weekend biker, who pedals about 3500 miles in a year.

Joining Arts will be David McDonald (assistant professor, molecular biology and microbiology), Rick Gibson (infectious diseases), Matt Lalonde (graduate student in biochemistry), Steve Previs (assistant professor, nutrition), Eckhard Jankowsky (associate professor, biochemistry) and Cliff Harding (professor and chair, pathology). Other riders include Gibson’s father Jimmy, Jeff Bailey from University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ned Sormaz from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Jim Thomas from Ohio University, Iain Mettam from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Tom Facklan from Bioenterprise.

The first leg of the two-day trip will be 110 miles from Peninsula to Salt Fork State Park, where the group will spend the night. On Saturday, they finish the ride to Athens where the group will celebrate and rest up for the van ride home to Cleveland.

Back in Cleveland, on-site services opportunities in more than 50 organizations throughout the community are also available for the campus community during the afternoon of service.

Case for Community Day activities kick off at 11 a.m. in Thwing Student Center with an Italian lunch donated by campus caterer, Bon Appétit and remarks by Case Western Reserve University President Barbara Snyder. At 11:45 a.m., volunteers will travel to volunteer locations. Go online for a complete list of service opportunities and to register by Friday, September 12.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, September 11, 2008 01:03 PM | News Topics: Community Outreach, Faculty, HeadlinesMain, School of Medicine, Staff, Students, news

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