King's student bikes to raise money for HIV/AIDS

The Stephen Lewis Foundation was involved in fundraising

Michael Wilson sets on bike ride to raise money to fight HIV/AIDS (photo: Andrew Miller)

A University of King's College student has raised over $3,300 for an HIV/AIDS charity by cycling nearly 200 km.

Michael Wilson, a third-year student at King's, rode his bike Friday from Halifax to Chester, N.S. and back for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which is based in Toronto, Ont. He used his blog as a fundraiser. 

"I heard Stephen Lewis speak a few times," Wilson said on Friday before he left. "He is doing great things for this country."

The Stephen Lewis Foundation's involvement

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Michael Wilson gets ready to bike

Stephen Lewis was the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada in the 1970s. He also worked for CBC Radio. Under Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney, Lewis was the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations in the 1980s. From 2001 to 2006, he was the United Nations envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. He continues to fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is known for its support of grassroots campaigns. Since 2003, as its websites states, it has "funded more than 700 initiatives with 300 community-based organizations in 15 countries." 

The goals of the initiative are to "provide education and counseling about HIV prevention, care and treatment; distribute food, medication and other necessities; reach into the homes of the sick and vulnerable through holistic home-based care; help children orphaned by AIDS and other vulnerable children gain access to education and cope with their grief; and support grandmothers, who are overwhelmingly the caregivers for their orphaned grandchildren."

The route of the bike ride

Wilson had originally planned to bike along the Chain of Lakes trail, but changed his route due to the snowstorm that hit the region last week.

"I went on various routes up the 103 Highway until I got near Chester," Wilson said. "Then I went back to Tantallon and out to Peggy's Cove, then back along the Prospect Route."

"I plan on raising $4,000," Wilson said before biking. He raised the money with the Dare Program at Dalhousie's International Development Studies. The group is working with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Donations were made to the foundation via Wilson's blog and on its own website. Wilson and both the Dare group and Stephen Lewis Foundation used Facebook and Twitter. 

Wilson said he was drawn to the race through his International Development Studies program at Dalhousie last year, but he recently changed his degree to one of King's philosophy programs, Early Modern Studies, and Dalhousie's Political Science.

"I was inspired to do this,"  Wilson said. "I want to challenge myself and do something new." 





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