BAYVILLE, NY – More that 80 supporters recently attended a gala at the Crescent Club in Bayville for Cycling 4 Change, a local nonprofit group dedicated to fighting human trafficking, which this summer completed a 3,400-mile bike ride across the country. During various fundraising events throughout the year, the nonprofit raised $45,000, earmarking funds for two charities working with survivors – women and children – who are at risk of human trafficking both internationally and in the US.
Santhosh Paulus, MD, president of Cycling 4 Change and associate director of the family residency program at Glen Cove Hospital, and his wife, Rajdeep, a writer, planned the cycling challenge for a small team of bikers to ride 3,400 miles in 34 days from Seattle to New York. Averaging 110 miles per day, cyclists completed the grueling ride on Aug. 1. The Paulus’ four young daughters accompanied their parents on the trip, supporting the team and sometimes riding their bikes several miles to help complete the daily mileage needed to stay on track.
At the gala, Dr. Santhosh shared a video highlighting the challenges and ultimate triumphant finish of the bike trip. An avid cyclist and resident of Locust Valley, Dr. Santhosh told attendees that he was devastated earlier this year with a diagnosis of a heart condition that prevented him from cycling the entire route, but was able to participate in other ways when he was not on his bike.
Dr. Santhosh said the cross-country cycling challenge was five years in the making. With his four daughters in mind he said, “Raj and I wanted to make a difference for victims trapped in some form of slavery, which are mostly young girls between the ages of 7 and 15.”
According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, almost 36 million people are caught in some form of slavery.
Also on hand to show her support at the event was Diana Mao, president of Nomi Network, a group that creates economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. Cycling 4 Change donated $20,000 to Nomi Network and $13,000 to World Vision, a nonprofit that, works to prevent child exploitation.
“We are grateful to all of our volunteers and supporters who helped make the bike challenge a success,” said Dr. Paulus. “It is heartening to be surrounded by family and friends who share our vision and want to stand up and take action against the crime of human trafficking by helping women and children who do not have a voice.”