PUHI — Kauai Community College Chancellor Helen Cox missed the weekly Kauai Community Market on Saturday.
Instead, she and her husband were in the group of more than 80 bicyclists who rolled out of Island School in the first of two legs of the Paradise Ride Kauai benefiting the Malama Pono Health Services.
“This is our best year, ever,” said D.Q. Jackson, Malama Pono director. “We’ve reached more than 70 percent of goal.”
Barbara Almeida, the Malama Pono accounting director, said this year’s goal is $75,000 and the annual fundraising bicycle ride has never been so close to goal as this year.
“We have until Aug. 31 for people to contribute,” Almeida said. “We have our top fundraising individuals and teams, but the overall champion won’t be named until after Aug. 31.”
The top fundraiser earns a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa valued at more than $1,000, Almeida said.
Chris Read won the fundraising challenge ending July 31, earning a Koloa Zipline package for two valued at $278.
He leads the individual fundraiser through 2 p.m. Sunday, Almeida said.
Following Read, Pat White, a member of the Philippine Island Hawaiian Island bicycling club holds the runner-up position. Jim Wolff is in third place as the individual fundraiser.
Team fundraising efforts as of 2 p.m. Sunday include the Three Amigos in the lead followed by Holoholo and Team Buddly who sport koi-emblazoned bicycling jerseys and includes the Kauai CC chancellor.
Paradise Ride is a fully-supported, two-day ride on Kauai through some of the island’s most breathtaking scenery, states its website.
Produced by Malama Pono Health Services, Almeida said the original Paradise Ride was a multi-island ride through the state by the Life Foundation.
In 2006, Malama Pono secured permission from the Life Foundation to continue the event as a Kauai-only ride as Malama Pono’s biggest fundraising event of the year.
Malama Pono started as a grass-roots response to HIV on Kauai. Today, Malama Pono’s mission has grown to educate and support those dealing with HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Disesases, and infectious Hepatitis.