WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport resident and Cornell University student Alec Bernard is going the distance — 3,548 miles. That’s how far he and fellow Cornell student Allie Wills are biking to raise money for Citta, a nonprofit that provides medical care and education in impoverished countries.
Bernard, a 2010 Staples High School graduate, and Wills, a Texas native, embarked on their cross country journey to San Francisco last Friday morning from Compo Beach. The trip will take them about 43 days.
“We love biking and really like the idea of being able to travel self supported,” said Bernard, who has been biking since high school. “We are also both passionate about the outdoors and love the idea of using this [trip] to help Citta in a unique way.”
The goal is to raise more than $7,000 for Citta. The nonprofit has helped build hospitals, schools, medical clinics, women’s centers and more in some of the poorest areas of India, Nepal and Mexico.
Bernard was introduced to Citta a few years ago through a friend who volunteered with one of its hospitals.
“He talked about all the good he saw being done and how much Citta is changing people's lives,” Bernard said. “They have a holistic approach to charity and believe that all the basic needs of a community must be taken care of for the people to prosper and improve their situation. We agree with this idea.”
Another reason they chose to dedicate their ride to Citta is because the nonprofit’s board is 100 percent volunteer, Bernard said. This means every dollar raised goes directly to helping those who need it, he said.
Not only will the trip enable them to support a worthy cause, it will afford them the opportunity to “see more of this beautiful country and to experience the joy that comes with bike touring,” Bernard said.
“There is something amazing that comes from being able to travel so far with just your own power,” he added.
By Tuesday night, Bernard and Wills had made it to McVeytown, Pa. Both are blogging about the trip as it progresses. To follow them on their journey, visit their America By Bicycle blog .
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