On Saturday, June 20, Dr. David Weldy, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine, will set off on his bicycle with a group of riders from Rotary International on a journey throughout Ohio.Though Weldy enjoys riding his bike for leisure, this trip is different — it’s to raise money for Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad (MESA). MESA is a project through the Rotary Club that takes donated medical supplies and equipment and ships them to places around the globe that need them the most.
“It really helps people all over the world, and helps recycle medical equipment rather than it being thrown away or discarded,” Weldy said. “It’s good environmentally, it’s good economically, and it’s good medically.”
Though the equipment is donated, getting the materials to where they’re needed is not. That’s where the bike ride comes in; riders ask for pledges and donations that go toward paying shipping fees and warehousing costs.
The riders, who are all members of Rotary clubs, will start in Oberlin, Ohio, and make their way through multiple locations over the course of six days, ending in Elyria. Throughout the trip, they will stay overnight at fellow Rotarians’ homes and eat lunch and dinner courtesy of other Rotary clubs.
Though this is the 11th annual rotary tour for MESA, it is Weldy’s second time participating and first time riding the whole length of the trip. He got back into riding a couple years ago after upgrading his 43-year-old bike.
Weldy has quite a history with bikes. As a kid, he would ride around the campus of the small college where his father was a professor. In college, he worked in a bike shop repairing and assembling bicycles.
In grad school, Weldy would occasionally strap his son into a carrier and ride 25 miles to church while his wife drove. At the end of the day, they would strap the bike to the top of the car and drive back home.
Along with his history of riding, Weldy has been a part of Rotary International for more than 20 years, and he describes it as one of the best philanthropic organizations in the world.
“It crosses all boundaries of race, religion, country, ethnicity,” Weldy said. “It is able to do things that other organizations can’t because of its diverse reach.”
To help Weldy raise money for MESA, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for a brochure with more information. Donations can be made in lump sums, per mile, per day, or any other way preferred.
So far, more than $6,500 has been raised toward the Rotary’s $50,000 goal. For more information on the bike ride, MESA and what you can do to help, visit rotarymesa.org.