Bright Hope Cyclists complete 3,000 mile, 40-day journey across America to Break The Chains of poverty and trafficking
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – On July 2, 2015 the Bright Hope Cycling Team crossed the finish line at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Md., dipping their tires in the Chesapeake Bay to mark the end of the Break The Chains Cycling Tour.
Mike Rutter, Bright Hope Chief Operating Officer, and George Cook, Managing Director of Graystone Consulting, averaged 90 miles per day on their bikes on a 3,000-mile mission to raise awareness of extreme poverty and human trafficking.
“Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half – real progress is being made. If enough people join this fight, poverty can be defeated in our lifetime,” shared Rutter.
Yet, as poverty rates are slowing, the human trafficking industry is growing, profiting approximately $150 billion a year from the nearly 36 million people who are enslaved.
“When I learned about human trafficking 12 years ago, I realized that many people in our country aren’t aware of the horrific reality that millions of enslaved women and children face every day. I decided to spread the word by riding my bike across America to shed light on this important issue,” shared Cook.
The cyclists began their epic journey on May 24 at Santa Monica Beach, Calif., crossing 13 states in 40 days. They endured the blistering heat of the desert, daunting climbs of the Rocky Mountains, lengthy stretches of rolling prairie, relentless rainstorms through the Midwest, and winding hills of the Appalachians.
To keep them focused on the importance of their cause, Rutter and Cook attached photos of trafficking survivors and those being lifted out of poverty to their handlebars. “When we felt like giving up, we looked into their faces. By enduring this physical pain ourselves, we were reminded of those who wake up every morning without any choice,” explained Cook.
So far the tour has raised over $250,000 to support Bright Hope’s poverty-fighting programs around the world. “Through this tour, families are going to be lifted out of poverty, kids are going to have access to school, pastors are going to be trained. Breaking the generational cycle of poverty starts here – one community, one family, one person at a time,” shared Rutter.
“I am so grateful for everyone who has supported this cause,” shared Cook. “These funds are going to help Bright Hope take young girls out of brothels, putting them into a safe house where they will learn dignity and self-respect. They will enter society again able to contribute because so many gave.”
Though the cycling tour has come to an end, the issues of extreme poverty and human trafficking continue. We can make a difference. Help Break the Chains of poverty and visit BrightHope.org/BreakTheChains.