Riding through paradise for charity

Faculty member joins bicycle riders in Hawaii this summer on 400-mile trip to fight HIV/AIDS | May 14, 2004

A Xavier University faculty member is cycling through Hawaii this summer to raise money for HIV/AIDS research.

Bill O'Connell, an assistant professor in the graduate counseling program, is taking part in Paradise Ride 2004, beginning in Honolulu and traveling through the islands of Oahu, Maui, Molokai and Kauai. The trip covers 400 miles and takes place from July 17 to July 23.

The Paradise Ride helps support three organizations engaged in the fight against AIDS on five of Hawaii's islands. O'Connell is seeking to raise over $2,500 to help the cause.

"I've chosen to participate in this event for several reasons," said O'Connell. “I believe HIV/AIDS charities across the globe are grossly under-funded to meet the needs of the population for medicine and treatment. As a counselor and human being, I have had the opportunity to meet men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, as well as the survivors of those that have died from the illness. I think the illness can be devastating, but there is hope through research and medical breakthroughs."

O'Connell, who turns 40 this year, is excited to participate and feels the ride will be a great accomplishment.

"I want to do something meaningful, challenging and fun to celebrate my milestone birthday this year," he said.

To learn more about the charity event or to sponsor O'Connell, visit www.paradiseridehawaii.org and click on the "Sponsor a Rider" button. Enter "William" for the first name and "O'Connell" for the last name. Donations may be made by credit card through a safe, secure website or a printable contribution sheet is available for donations by mail.