Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Reef Ride “A Wonderful Success”


Press Release – Oceana – November 21, 2011 – Paraplegic cyclist Jerome Flores completed his two-day ride from Belmopan to Dangriga in record time. Jerome had estimated the ride to take him 6 hours total but in fact he finished in a record 5 hours 10 minutes. Jerome describes his Garifuna Settlement Day Reef Ride as “Amazing, a wonderful experience and a great success!”

Seven other cyclists, including Oceana’s own Audrey Matura-Shepherd, accompanied Jerome on the Ride’s first leg last Friday from in front in of the National Assembly Building to St. Margaret Village on the Hummingbird Highway. That leg took 2 hours 10 minutes, not the projected 2½ hours.

On Saturday, 10 cyclists joined Jerome as he rode from St. Margaret Village to Dangriga in 3 hours, not the estimated 3½ hours. Among those keenly following the Reef Ride was Hattiville Resident Shaphan “Bala” Domingo, who lost his legs 2 years ago after being shot. Bala has been so inspired by Jerome he hopes to ride alongside him next year, when the next segment of his ride across Belize takes him from Dangriga to Punta Gorda Town. Bala is seeking assistance to get a trike similar to Jerome’s.

Jerome became a paraplegic over 8 years ago as a result of an accident and has since sought to highlight the plight of people living with diverse abilities. The Reef Ride primarily aimed to bring awareness of and generate funds for the Belize Assembly for Person with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA), Jerome’s favorite charity, which he helped found. In response to his call for financial support, many people approached him to make donations, have their pictures taken and commend his efforts to bring awareness to the plight of adults with diverse abilities.

As OCEANA IN BELIZE sponsored the Reef Ride, it also brought attention to the call for a ban on offshore oil drilling due to its threat to Belize’s marine resources. The sponsorship of the Ride was also OCEANA’s was of participating in celebrations for Garifuna Settlement Day

BAPDA has a target of raising $20,000.00 by year’s end. Contributions can be made to BAPDA’s First Caribbean Bank Account #10202430. Some $1,200.00 has been raised to date, but the public’s support is needed to meet Jerome’s target.

Jerome has expressed great appreciation for the very warm reception he got en route and in Dangriga as he and his support crew took part in the Garifuna Settlement Day Parade. In an update on Adrian Camara, who accompanied Jerome in rides in 2009 & 2010 and had planned to join him again on the Reef Ride but could not due to health issues, Jerome reports that Adrian is doing much better.

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