7 News Belize

Jerome Will Roll Through The Hummingbird
posted (November 15, 2011)
Paralyzed from the waist down - 28 year old Burrell Boom resident Jerome Flores - is determined to raise awareness about persons living with disabilities.

Over the years, we've catalogued his epic awareness-raising rides and now he is getting ready to take on another extremely challenging mission.

This time Flores is getting prepared to ride his homemade, customized recumbent trike through the Hummingbird highway in a grueling fundraising effort sponsored by Oceana.

It's called Reef Ride 2011 and we caught up with Flores today who told us, it will be a challenge trekking through those hills but he is ready to take it on.

Jerome Flores
"As everyone knows every year I do part of the major highway in Belize, to bring this awareness to persons living with disability. This year it's the killer hills that I am attempting to ride to bring awareness through the Humming Bird, we will start from Belmopan and we will end up in Dangriga."

"It's the first time riding through it, and going in there and train and see the challenge that it will be, but I won't let that keep me down and before I've been riding just minor hills and what's not. But his year it will be very challenging, but I won't let that keep me down I will make sure I push through and compete this ride."

Monica Bodden
"How long have you been training for this?"

Jerome Flores
"Believe it or not, since I got this sponsorship from Oceana and their support - pretty much a month and change training and that's very limited but with the help and the support of my family and friends we've being able to modify in training in certain ways that I don't strain myself but at the same time I am building my muscle."

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice president of Oceana
"Well the Reef Ride is really to bring awareness to two major national issues, the first one being attention to the plight of people living with disabilities, the fact remains that we have a lot of people living with disabilities in this country who are not getting the services and assistances they need, and a lot of people who may seem normal right now, but they don't know when it will be their day. You don't know when there will be an accident, you don't know when diagnose with some major illness that disables your body physically and so we thought that when Jerome approached us it will be great we want to partner with him. The second issue is that the issue of off shore oil is still one of national importance and he was prepared to lend his voice to this issue and so we want to remind people that it is still a live issue. It is still one that people should have a say in and we thought that by doing the ride we bring awareness and bring attention to this critical issue. And so we partnered together and Jerome is the man of the hour, he is at the center and he agrees with us that off shore oil should be something that should not happen in the country but he recognize that like Oceana, we say there should be an oil industry but one that will actually bring back money into the really needs of the country which is education and health services and under health services comes the care of people with disabilities."

"We have an account at First Caribbean BAPDA and we want people to contribute to that cause and put the money in the First Caribbean account, so that it brings about the work that they want to do, that they have the finances to be able to do that."

The ride begins at 6am on Friday in Belmopan at the Independence Hill. The first leg of the ride will be from Belmopan to St Margaret's Village. The second will start on Saturday morning from St Margaret's Village to the Cultural Capital, Dangriga.

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