2004 Ride Across America Website
Approximately 54-million Americans, or nearly 20% of the overall U.S. population, are living with some form of physical disability in the United States. In a recent Department of Labor survey, more than 7-million of those Americans said they would like the assistance of a Guide or Assistance Dog in their everyday lives. The lifetime cost to breed, train and place an Assistance Dog exceeds $18,000 in most cases. The cost for a Guide Dog is almost twice that amount.
Fortunately, there are many charitable organizations that provide these specially trained dogs to people with disabilities at no cost to the recipient. Yet with no federal or state funding for these programs, the waiting lists to receive an Assistance Dog can be several years long. We believe it's time for that to change.
So, from May to December 2004, Max & Bailey - two Golden Retrievers - journeyed over 25,000 miles through all lower 48 states of America in their Harley-Davidson sidecars, bringing attention to the special needs of people with disabilities and highlighting the many ways that a Guide or Assistance Dog can help them lead more independent lives.
The journey was a grand success, raising financial support through fundraising events and educating tomorrow's leaders by presenting a quality message to school-age children around the country about the value of Assistance Dogs and the importance of community involvement. Hundreds of volunteers and thousands of generous donors provided support as the ride traveled from town to town on the 218-day ride. And, on December 4th, the ride returned to Raleigh, North Carolina to cheering crowds, a Mayor's proclamation and a palpable momentum for another charity ride in 2005.
Unfortunately, in the middle of unpacking from the 2004 ride and beginning to plan for 2005, world events quickly squelched the financial support necessary for another ride. We're saddened to report that, at this time, the plans for 2005 have been cancelled and all efforts have been focused on reducing costs to help the organization simply survive these difficult times. We are currently seeking volunteers to take over the organization's leadership and will be placing the motorcycles & sidecars up for auction. If you are interested in either of these areas, please contact us.
We want to thank all our volunteers, donors, sponsors, charity partner and those who simply believed in what we had hoped to achieve - Independent living for people with disabilities by making Assistance Dogs more readily available. You helped us make a difference in 2004. We hope you'll continue to work for the elimination of the long waiting lists for an Assistance Dog and help give the gift of independent living. Max, Bailey and millions of your fellow Americans are still counting on you.