Cebo Ride VIII (2008)

On Saturday, June 7, the eighth annual CEBORIDE took place! This year, Mike Krolczyk, Sam Mueller and all, changed the venue. They used to ride from Madison to Fond du Lac (WI), weaving their way along bike paths and country roads for 125 miles! This year, they decided to ride from an idyllic summer camp named the "VISTA", near Dundee WI. (When I come home, I stay at a cabin on Little Cedar Lake, in this campground. The cabin used to be Fr. Fischer's, and friends renovated it and I have the privilege of being able to spend my time home at this lovely place. Fr. Fischer founded and funded this camp, and was a dear friend and mentor for me). Since the area around the camp is made up of hills, they decided to ride 100 miles "only"!

The 27 riders took off in lovely weather, but then after about 7 hours, tornado warnings were out, and they grudgingly returned to the camp by car. There they were greeted with a Mass of thanksgiving for a safe ride. After a few short talks, etc., the riders headed for showers, massagers and loads of good food and welcome beer and soda. It was a great time, with Kirin and Kate, two volunteers from late last year, telling of their experiences at Sarnelli House and above all, the kids. Neither of the two could hold back their tears, which impressed and deeply moved the Great Unwashed!

The riders have raised enough money to be used for medicine, supplements, hospital treatment and HIV/AIDS blood tests and operations. After we cleaned up, I phoned Thailand to tell them of the welcome news. They then proceeded to give me wonderful news!

First, all the kids were doing well, and even Lynn and Josie were flourishing. But the best news is that Ta Dum, blinded years ago by chickenpox and infected by the AIDS virus, is studying Braille, and learning how to use a cane to get around. The good news also is that her teacher is Tdim's blind young brother Tdaap. (Tdim runs the finances, together with Jeep). This boy was infected from birth, and lost his eyes. He has two glass eyes, and Bishop Duhart sent him to the Salesian School for the Blind in Bangkok. He finished the school and kept studying, right through the University level. There, he learned to swim, and was on the Thai Special Olympic teams, traveling and swimming in Spain, Italy, Australia, Japan, etc. Every vacation he would come to Pai Si Tong to work out with me in the gym, so as to strengthen muscles used in swimming. He took pity on Ta Dum, and since we have other blind kids with AIDS in our OUTREACH PROGRAM, I plan to hire him full time. He is now selling lottery tickets, and when I return, "Professor Tdaap" will be teaching English and Braille using CEBORIDE money.

All this is directly attributed to the sponsors and riders, support group and friends of Sarnelli CEBORIDERS, plus the cooks and massagers. A special thanks to Maggie Shea, who quietly organizes and runs the Sarnelli Foundation, and also CEBORIDE, together with Marian Sheridan. A special thanks to Mike Krolczak, who rode every inch of the ride before the CEBORIDERS ever came in, to make sure all went well and the maps were accurate. And special thanks to Sam and Molly, whose dream and vision brought us to where we are today!

When I began this 9 years ago, I never dreamed I would meet such wonderful, kind, concerned people. God has been good to the children, and their good health and happiness is due to the help we can give them, thanks to CEBORIDE and so many other kind and caring people. God bless you all!

Fr. Mike

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