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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Riding for world health: Cyclists stop in Rolla on cross-country trek

  • When Erin Shropshire rolled into Rolla Tuesday evening, she was worn out. She and three fellow fourth-year medical students from The Ohio State University (OSU) had just biked 126 miles from Springfield, Mo.
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  • When Erin Shropshire rolled into Rolla Tuesday evening, she was worn out. She and three fellow fourth-year medical students from The Ohio State University (OSU) had just biked 126 miles from Springfield, Mo.
    "It was many, many rolling hills," she said as she caught her breath in the parking lot of the First Assembly of God Church in Rolla.
    The church was serving up a big dinner and a welcomed good night sleep for the four cyclists.
    Shropshire, Nick Ladwig, Michael Bowen and Emily Liebeskind are members of Ride for World Health, a cycling team comprised of OSU students who are riding across the United States to raise money and awareness for global health issues.
    "Ride for World Health began in 2006 by medical students. Each year the group organizes the ride and the organizations that they want to raise funds for," Shropshire explained. "This year we chose to raise money for HEAL Africa and Empower and Advance."
    HEAL Africa serves needy communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo; while Empower and Advance is a non-profit which works to advance the impoverished of Haiti to better their economy, and social well being.
    Last year, Ride for World Health donated more than $100,000 to its beneficiaries.
    This year's group left San Diego, Calif., March 25 and hopes to arrive in Bethany Beach, Del., by May 10. That's 3,200 miles, but according to Shropshire, not all members of the cycling team ride every day.
    "Four of us ride for four days and then we are part of the support vans that tag along."
    During the six-week trek, cyclers will participate in the Ride for World Health's Coast-to-Coast lecture series to discuss global health. Riders will also distribute the Global Health Medical Education Curriculum Guide to medical schools along their route.
    With more than half of the journey behind their wheels, Shropshire said it has been a smooth trip.
    "So far, so good," she said. "We have been really touched by the kindness of strangers who have welcomed us and helped us along the way. It makes a long day of peddling well worth it."
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