Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fistula funding from American Express - We need your help!

Tanitra Partivit at UNFPA has submitted a project titled "End Fistula: Global Women's health project" in a competition to split $2.5 million worth of funding from American Express and needs votes to win! Check out project details here:

She needs your vote (and all those of your friends and family), if you are not an American Express card holder you can join as a "guest user" (it only takes a second!--I just did it)
. The deadline for the first round is September 1st so spread the word!

Thank you thank you!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We made it! :) (Days 6 though 14)

YEAH! We finally made it to San Francisco in just about two weeks, with no major break downs or wipe outs. We had a great time, met some interesting people and saw a beautiful part of the country. Thank you everyone for your support and donations to the Campaign to End Fistula, you have donated over $4,500--enough to repair more than 15 women. We are truly touched by all the generosity of family and friends. There was nothing else we would have rather been doing and were tempted to ride on down to San Diego (if there was only time!). The endeavor was a great success and hopefully just the start of working towards alleviation and awareness of obstetric fistula.

Day 6: Florence to Bandon, OR (71 miles). Misty wet day down the Oregon coast...

Day 7: Bandon to Brookings, OR (82 miles). Started the day late waiting for the rain to stop...we want sunshine!

Day 8: Brookings to Redwoods, CA (40 miles). Crossed the California state line and stopped for an early day at the Redwoods Youth hostel.

Finally reached Cali!

Day 9: Redwoods to Eureka, CA (70 miles). Finished off the winding roads through the Redwood National Park, happy to be leaving Hwy 101 and the traffic behind.

Kel gets friendly with the local wildlife.

Ridin' in the Redwoods

Can we stay here tonight? It looks nice and dry...

Day 10: Eureka to Standish-Hickey State Park, CA (90 miles). Our favorite day yet, through the beautiful 30 mile long Avenue of the Giants. Finally hot enough to have ice cream breaks! Started the climb over the pass out to the coast.

Lunch break in Ave of the Giants

Have you hugged a tree today?

Day 11: Standish-Hickey to Ft. Bragg, CA (45 miles). Climbed out to Hwy 1 and followed the coast down to Ft. Bragg. Stopped for an early day, Amber finally caught Kelsea's cold after a weeks of tenting together and sharing food!

Day 12: Ft. Bragg to Salt Pt. State Park, CA (78 miles). Down the beautiful, steep coastline in Mendicino County, wanting to stop at every beach. Thank goodness for tailwinds!

Climbing up the coastline

Day 13: Salt Pt. State Park to Olema, CA (63 miles). Continued through Sonoma County in the scorching sun, developing some interesting tan lines. :)

Day 14: Olema to Japan Town, San Francisco (40 miles). Wound our way into SF, across the Golden Gate Bridge and into Japan Town for Sushi with cousins. YEAH we made it!

On the north side of the Golden Gate

Mid bridge

Victory dance: the prospector

Sunday, June 1, 2008

And we are off (Days 1 through 5)...

After a day of gear testing and carb loading (in the form of sushi) in Seattle we are finally off. Below are some stats for the first five days. A short news story was posted on the UNFPA website to help publicize our ride, read more here:
Kelsea and Amber, ready to hit the road!

Day 1: Seattle to Elma, WA (67 miles). We caught the Seattle Bremerton ferry and headed down highway 106 on the hood canal for a nice flat, sunny first day!

Day 2: Elma to Naselle, WA (72 miles). Continued on highway 12 to 101 through logging country stopping just short of the WA/OR state line.

Kelsea gets friendly with the local WA cows.

Day 3: Naselle to Rockaway Beach, OR (65 miles). Crossed over the Astoria bridge into Oregon and braved the coastal hills!

The Astoria Bridge connecting WA and OR over the Columbia is over 4 miles long!

Kelsea sports the jersey donated by Gregg's Cycle

Cannon Beach rocks

Day 4: Rockaway Beach to South Beach, OR (85 miles). Smooth sailing down the coast on highway 101, beautiful view, Amber gets her first flat (expertly patched by Kel on the side of the freeway).

Breakfast of champs (double scoop ice cream cones) at the Tillamock Factory

Day 5: South Beach to Florence, OR (48 miles). We stopped in early afternoon for a rest day with cousins--yeah for showers and soft beds :)

The trusty Hubba Hubba tent (Kelsea carries as her handicap)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What is this all about?

1) What we are doing:

Cycling approximately 1100 miles from Seattle to San Francisco following Highway 101 on the coast and camping along the way. Our goal is to raise $3,000, the cost of repair and rehabilitation of 10 women (yup that is $300 per woman) for the Campaign to End Fistula ( We start our ride on May 27th, 2008.

Patient at the Gyadi-Gyadi Women's Training Center in Kano Nigeria.
The center providers skills training and literacy to fistula patients
to facilitate reintegration into communities.

Lucian Read/WpN/UNFPA

2) Why we are doing it:

Chances are if you know us or received an email, you may have heard of gynecological fistula--an injury most commonly associated with prolonged labor which leaves women incontinent (and thus dribbling urine or feces for the remainder of her life, vesicovaginal or rectovaginal fistula). Virtually unheard of in the developed world, over 3 million women are estimated to be living with untreated fistula in developing countries and an additional 30,000 to 100,000 develop cases each year on the African subcontinent alone. Women with fistula are often ostracized, forced out of their homes and communities because they are unable to work and bear children. Fortunately fistula is a treatable condition with surgical success rates as high as 90 percent. However, without assistance it is virtually impossible for women to access and afford treatment.

3) What you can do:

Donate and spread the word to friends who are sympathetic to the cause (or may have extra money floating around). Even $5 or $10 helps! Here is what you do: 1) go to this cite and click on "donate online" (, 2) follow the instructions, upon completion an email will be sent to the address you provide. Please forward this email to: so we can keep track of how much we have raised!! You can also send us a short message to post if you feel inspired. If you are on facebook, you can join our cause "bike to end fistula" or the "Campaign to End fistula" to help publicize the condition.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Donations to Date (thank you! thank you!):

C.K., CA ($50) 7/28

Mason, DC ($300) 6/18

Lisa, NC ($20) Sorry I couldn't do more--I hope you reached your target. Loved the pics! 6/18

Ryan, NC ($50) Good job havin' fun, helpin' folks! 6/15

Chris, CA ($5) 6/9

Kerwin and Margaret, WA ($100) Amber and Kelsea, What a wonderful cause and you get a bike ride out of this. I am sure the two of you will have memories to share together for a lifetime. Safe biking. 6/9

Roger, CA ($200) Your bike ride has inspired me to make a donation in celebration of my first Children's book. My book is about two multicultural children whose father is also multicultural with African American heritage. Their mother is Chinese. They go on a bike ride adventure in the first book titled: Ryan and Robbie's bike ride adventure and Lao Lao's Chinese secrets.
The book preview is here:

Peter, WA ($160) I ordered some new Tupperware on eBay, could you swing by Salt Lake and pick it up for me? 6/6

Alex, WA ($10) You girls are awesome! Keep it up and have fun! 6/6

Glen and Celeste, FL ($100) Thank you both for your inspiration and for focusing on a problem that is so little publlicized. What a great and worthy adventure:) 6/4

Horii Family, CA ($100) 6/3

Kiyo, WA ($100) Keep up the hard work, you girls are amazing! 6/3

Emma, NC ($10) Go Amber and Kelsea - thank you for doing this! 6/3

Suja, NC ($10) 6/2

Shana, NC ($20) I hope the trip is a huge success--I'll be following the blog along the way! 6/1

Shanina, NC ($20) Nice pics! Looks like you guys are living it up. Hope you continue to have a great trip. 6/1

Steve, CA ($100) Enjoy the ride, I hope the weather cooperates! Best wishes and good cheer! 5/26

Travis & Krysta, DC ($25) Kels and Amber, hope your first day was successful. Be safe and good luck to you. 5/26

Lon & Miriam, WA ($100) Don't fall off your bike! :o) 5/25

Rachel, WA ($50) I work with your Mom and just heard about your great expedition! Good for you!! have a great trip. 5/21

Eli, NC ($15) 5/20

Jon, NC ($10) 5/20

Deborah, NC ($20) 5/20

Sharif, NC ($40) 5/19

Rivka, NC ($35) Dear Amber & Kelsea, best wishes for a wonderful ride! xo. 5/17

Alyssa, NY ($10) I am a friend of Marjorie's--congratulations on your effort and best of luck! 5/15

Rekha, IL ($30) 5/15

Kathy H, WA ($100) Thank you so much for taking active initiative for raising money and awareness for this heartbreaking women's issue. I am happy to contribute to your efforts. 5/15

Carol Jia, CA ($30) Go! Go! Go! Amber! You gals rock! 5/15

Christine, VA ($80) Good luck ladies! 5/14

Amelia, MD ($10) I watched the special "A Walk to Beautiful" last evening which brought this tragedy to light for me. I'm very inspired by the two of you doing this ride to raise money. Thank you! 5/14

Nicole, OR ($50) Your info was passed on to me by a friend. I just happened to catch the women's health documentary "A Walk to Beautiful" about fistula on PBS and felt compelled to donate and support your cause. I hope this helps! 5/14

Casey K., WA ($300) 5/13

Masuye (gram), WA ($1,000) 5/13

Kiersten, MD ($300) In honor of my grandmother, Doris Milligan Johnson, a nurse who knew the worth and possibility inherent in the life of a woman. Ride on - wish I was out there with you :) xoxo. 5/12

Shitama Family, MD ($50) We're really proud that you are taking on this challenge. Hopefully it will inspire others to work on behalf of the broken and hurting. By the way, great quote at the bottom of your website. John Wesley is the founder of Methodism and he epitomized the union of the spiritual life with work for social justice. Have a great ride! 5/12

Marjorie, DC ($30) Best of luck ladies! 5/11

Meta & Ren, CA ($100) 5/8

Jean ($10) Good luck! 5/8

Elizabeth ($60) Good luck on your ride!!! Great job! 5/8

Jerry & Marilyn, WA ($60) Wishing you a great ride. 5/7

Avi, WA ($20) Kudos for such an ambitious endeavor for honorable reasons. 5/7

Shuwen & Marc, NC ($50) What a great idea and a wonderful way to spread the word about fistula. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures along this bike ride! 5/7

Tim, NC ($25) 5/7

Tyler, NC ($30) 5/7

Aimee & Chad, WA ($300) We're proud of your efforts to help those in need. 5/6

Zach, WA ($10) 5/4

Nichole, MA ($10) 5/2

Robert, OR ($6) 4/30

Hammon Family, OR ($50) 4/30

Naomi, WA ($60) Amber and Kelsea, you go girls! We are proud of you for doing this for such a good cause. We will be thinking of you along the way. We'd go with you, but ahhh have to go to work....Love, Pantsy

Samantha, UK ($50/25 L) My very good friend Becky told me about your ride and I think what you are doing is amazing--good luck! 4/29

Nora, MA ($25) Good luck with your ride for a great cause: "The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world" ~ Charles Malik, former president of the UN General Assembly 4/29

Misa, WA ($50) 4/29

Becky, CO ($10) YAYA Go Kelsea and Amber you guys are amazing! Rock on! 4/29

Amber, NC ($5) Gotta start somewhere 4/28


Jeremy McKinley at Gregg's Cycle in Seattle, WA for donation of two jersey's, multi-tools, patch kits, lubes and water bottles! Kathy Ballard for $50 to defray trip costs; Tim Cupery for help with bike maintenance; Meagan McPhee for use of panniers; See Family in Nassele, WA for overnight shelter; Hammon Family in Eugene, OR for laundry, food and showers!; Orans Family in SF for laundry, food and showers; Itsuko Uota for help with bike shipping costs--you guys are awesome!