Rossland local Lori Heximer heads to Vietnam this September with a mission in mind: She plans to ride her bike for a week over 400 kilometres of back roads with a team of 10 others, each of whom will have raised more than $3,500 in pledges to fund CARE Canada projects in Vietnam and around the world.
Heximer reports that she’s raised 65 per cent of the funds already, mostly through word of mouth among friends, family, and colleagues at the hospital where Heximer works as an X-ray technician and hosted a fundraising lunch.
Some $3,045 of that will directly benefit CARE projects where they are needed most — at the moment, it seems likely that some will help drought-stricken East Africa, but a portion will also go towards projects in Vietnam that primarily help women and children become self-sufficient and start small businesses. Exactly zero will go towards Heximer’s flight or bike trip, all of which she is responsible for covering herself.
On Sept. 18, the group meets in Ho Chi Minh city, but they won’t start riding right away. “We’re going over to the Cambodian border where one of the CARE projects is, to spend some time there,” Heximer said.
From there, the group will return to Ho Chi Minh city and fly a little way up the coast to Quy Nhon, where they’ll start biking.
“We mostly ride along the coast and go through a lot of the smaller towns,” Heximer said. “Our longest day is 90 kilometers, but it’s not a crazy fitness ride.”
They’ll be on hybrid mountain bikes for the week as they wends their way north as far as Hue, where they will board the Reunification Express train to Hanoi.
The group will pass rice fields, villages, salt farms, fish farms, and beautiful beaches. They will visit the sobering memorial for the My Lai Massacre, and tackle the lofty bluffs of the Hai Van Pass as they cross the watershed between north and south. They will also visit the Forbidden Palace of the past emperors of Vietnam and watch the famous Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi.
“I think it’s going to be fun, I’m getting quite excited,” Heximer said.
“I found it in a magazine,” she explained. “I’ve always wanted to travel to this part of the world. I’m not one of those crazy Rosslanders, but I do like to bike!”
Although Heximer has been to Hong Kong once before, this will be her first immersion into Asia, a place she’s always wanted go. “I always wanted to travel and do volunteer work.”
“My husband didn’t want to go, and my girls both wanted to go, but they’re in school,” she said. “So I’m going on my own.”
She’s already considering ways she can volunteer for a longer period on her next trip, perhaps donating her skills with the X-ray. She may have found a placement in Haiti, but in the meantime, she said, “One thing at a time; this is a good step to see how I like it.”
Heximer’s no stranger to fundraising, having done a marathon in Ireland to support the arthritis society, but for her current project she still must raise more than $1,000. She has plans: One of them is to cook a Vietnamese dinner for a large group of friends who will donate for their dinner. The other, “I’m probably going to do a beer and burger night at the pub,” she said.
Currently ten people are on the trip, but there is still space for a few more to join the ride. Currently, there are some riders from Ontario, three from Alberta, “and I’m the only one from B.C.,” Heximer said. If you are interested, go to www.care.ca and navigate to “Cycle for CARE Vietnam 2011,” or contact Heximer.
If you would like to donate to Heximer’s cause, contact her at email@example.com or 362-9586.