Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2007-07-18

Proceeds from the Old Howard 100 Bike Ride sponsored by Samford University's Howard College of Arts and Sciences are being sown back into Perry County, site of the April event.

Bike ride organizers recently presented a $3,000 check to leaders of Perry County-based Sowing Seeds of Hope ministry.

The money will assist area residents who receive care through Samford's year-round health programs that partner with Sowing Seeds of Hope.

Students and faculty in Samford's nursing, pharmacy and exercise and sports medicine programs offer regular healthcare screenings, evaluations and monitoring services to Perry County residents.

Frances Ford, executive director of Sowing Seeds of Hope, noted that the funds will fill a critical void in health care distribution.

A patient might be diagnosed with hypertension in a screening by Samford volunteers, but need medication or supplies before Medicaid or Medicare coverage can be arranged, she explained.

"These funds will help meet that need," said Ford after receiving the check from Samford arts and sciences dean Dr. David Chapman and bike ride coordinators and Samford faculty members Dr. Rosemary Fisk and Bridget Rose.

Held for the third time, the 2007 bike ride drew 229 participants from three states. The 100-mile route begins and ends in the Perry County town of Marion, site of Samford's founding as Howard College in 1841. The fourth annual ride will be April 19, 2008.

In an effort to encourage exercise among the youth of Perry County, Fisk and Rose have found a unique way to re-direct bikes that have been left behind on campus by Samford students.

If unclaimed after 90 days, abandoned bikes are repaired and taken to Perry County for distribution by Mrs. Ford.

Six former Samford bikes are being enjoyed by young Perry County riders during summer vacation. Another eight bikes are awaiting evaluation and refurbishment by Homewood Cycle, which is assisting with the project. Helmets have been thoughtfully provided by a group of Mountain Brook Baptist Church women.

The church women, led by Eugenia Anderson, also worked the day of the ride to serve hot dogs to cyclists upon their return to Marion. They were among many volunteers who manned rest stops at 15 mile intervals along the rural route. Leftover goodies and high-energy treats also found their way for use in Sowing Seeds of Hope's after-school programs.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.