Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Race to raise

Race to raise

From left to right: Guillaume D’Aboville, Vanessa Bandoy Hans, Carmela Serina Pearson, Colin Pearson

Racing has never been this good. Have you ever thought cycling for over 3000 miles across a country in just 9 days was impossible? Join the journey of these four hopefuls as they become the first mixed relay team to represent Southeast Asia and the Philippines in the world’s toughest and longest time trial race – Race Across America (RAAM). Currently on its 36th year, the annually held race will start in Oceanside, California and will run through 12 states, four rivers (the Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio), and three major mountain ranges (the Sierra, Rocky, and Appalachian) to reach the finish line located in Annapolis, Maryland. This competition is open to both amateur and professional cyclists who may choose to compete solo, two-, and eight-person relay teams as long as they qualify the fitness test and have a strong passion for cycling.

Team David’s Salon, is comprised of two males and two female cyclists: Guillaume D’Aboville, a Frenchman living in the Philippines for more than three decades, Colin and Carmela Pearson, a Filipino-British couple, and Vanessa Bandoy Hans, a young French-Filipina. They are strongly supported by David’s Salon, Inc., Fuji Haya Electric, and LS Korea, who will accompany them in their journey to Maryland.

RAAM is more than just a test of strength, endurance, and team dynamics, but it is heavily anchored in social responsibility. Over the past 5 years, racers have raised over $2 million per year for the charities of their choice. Team David’s Salon is no different for they want to raise both awareness and funds for a foundation close to their hearts.

On November 8 2013, the Philippines was ravaged by the strongest storm that ever made landfall in the planet. Typhoon Haiyan, locally named as Yolanda, caused widespread destruction of property, loss thousands of lives, and over seven million individuals were displaced and left in despair. Hans, whose family originated from Guiuan, Eastern Samar, was the first municipality to experience its landfall, remembers waiting in Manila for several days before receiving news of safety from her relatives; however, many were not as fortunate as them. It may have not taken the lives of her family but it ruined their homes and prized possessions.

Immediately after the calamity, the French Embassy and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines created a response team called France-Philippines United Action (FPUA) to address the needs of the victims.

With only three years under its wing, FPUA has achieved remarkable results that benefited thousands of individuals. The organization was able to built two villages and provide over 200 disaster-resilient homes for the survivors in Daanbantayan, Northern Cebu. This was made possible through the numerous donations it gathered from companies in France and in the Philippines and the foundation’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Red Cross.

Even though it has been almost four years since its landfall, many are still living in extremely precarious conditions. Currently, FPUA is focused on building its third rehabilitation village in Bogo City, Northern Cebu which will benefit 46 families. The Foundation is committed to continue its mission to build resilient communities and provide safe, decent living for all. In line with this, FPUA also developed Health and Child Welfare programs for the communities.

With the numerous programs their charity of choice has made, the four cyclists wish to raise funds for the sustainability of the projects. This time trial is not only a matter of breaking their personal record but also committing themselves to a great cause.

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