Locals team up to send bikes to HIV-positive kids

(KGO)
January 7, 2013 6:42:36 PM PST
A Bay Area man helping children in South Africa who have AIDS is partnering with Mike's Bikes of San Rafael to bring bicycles to the kids so they can raise money to hold camp this year. A Marin County dad is hoping the camp experiences can happen again this year thanks to the new partnership.

The charity Our Fertile Ground provides outings and counseling for kids with AIDS, but can't afford to put on camp again this year. So, some of Fertile Ground's campers will join the internationally-renowned Cape Argus Bicyle Tour in South Africa to raise money and awareness. "I emailed Mike's Bikes and Ken was kind enough to answer our response and we have five bikes now for five of our kids, and we need five more and we'll have ten riders," Fertile Ground co-founder Robert Shea said.

Asked why he is so interested in this, Mike's Bikes founder Ken Martin replied, "We have bike projects in Africa all over that region anyway right now. It's a local guy who is also passionate about Africa and passionate about bikes. It was an easy request to fulfill."

Shea and his wife, AIDS researcher Dr. Jawaya Shea are trying to buy a property at Cape Point to build a permanent campsite for children and families with HIV and AIDS. They live in slums called townships and are all desperately poor. Fertile Ground plans to build a Mike's Bikes sister shop at the campsite. "What I want to do is start a mobile unit with the fathers there, so they'll be able to do bike repairs and then we'll be able to self-sustain our camps," Robert said.

Martin's company, based in San Rafael, will ship the bikes in PODS from any of his company's locations. He's very optimistic about the partnership with Our Fertile Ground. "These five bikes are how we met, but we're hoping to send in thousands of bikes for the community there," Martin said.

Martin has donated 15 bicycles so far.


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