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Action Cycling Atlanta has raised more than $1.8M for AIDS research, service

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Holly Korschun

This past May, Action Cycling Atlanta raised $223,000 through the latest AIDS Vaccine 200 (AV200) ride.

In the 12 years since a group of cyclists formed Action Cycling Atlanta to raise awareness and support for the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University, the nonprofit has raised more than $1.8 million. All proceeds from the group’s annual 200-mile bike ride benefit AIDS vaccine research and Atlanta HIV/AIDS service organizations.

This past May, the group raised $223,000 through the latest AIDS Vaccine 200 (AV200) ride. The group has begun planning for its 13th ride on May 16-17, 2015. Registration is open at

"I think the ride has been so successful because we have maintained the original mission, which was to donate 100 percent of rider fundraising to our beneficiaries and to remain an all-volunteer organization," says Leon Morales, president of Action Cycling Atlanta. "Being an all-volunteer organization gives people more of a sense of community around the ride."

Action Cycling’s steering committee consists of about 15 volunteer members who work year-round to organize the ride and gather corporate sponsorships. Sponsorships and event registration pay for the operations of the annual ride, which has allowed ACA to donate 100 percent of rider fundraising to the Emory Vaccine Center and AIDS service organizations in Atlanta to date.

Action Cycling Atlanta was formed in 2003 by a group of cyclists who had participated in other charity cycling events benefitting AIDS researchers and patients. Dismayed that more of the money raised by such rides did not reach beneficiaries, they decided to create their own nonprofit. The unrestricted funds provided to the Emory Vaccine Center by ACA fill funding gaps that cannot be met through grant dollars alone.

"An effective HIV/AIDS vaccine remains the most challenging and the most essential goal in the world’s fight against this challenging disease," says Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. "Scientists continue to make significant progress in creating vaccines to prevent and treat HIV infection, and the Emory Vaccine Center is at the forefront of this effort."

The Emory Vaccine Center is one of the largest academic vaccine centers in the world and is renowned for its expertise in cellular immunity and immune memory. It is the only university-based vaccine research center in the United States to have an AIDS vaccine candidate in clinical trials.

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