Public health student to bike across Africa for medical, educational mission

Posted Date: February 16, 2018

MHA student Sara Byrd is looking forward to UNT Health Science Center graduation day for two very big reasons.

After crossing the stage in cap and gown at this spring’s commencement ceremonies, she will board a plane for Africa, to participate in a seven-day, 489-mile bike challenge, climbing over 48,000 feet through the hills of Rwanda to support medical and educational aid for villagers in the impoverished country of Burundi.

Byrd will ride to raise funds for the work of two humanitarian nonprofit organizations, Cornerstone Medical Clinic and Gitega International Academy.

Cornerstone is part of The Cries of a Child, which dedicates manpower and resources to help orphaned, abandoned and forgotten children.

Gitega, through its parent organization, Great Lakes Outreach (GLO), is focused on schools and educational programs for Burundi youth, to build a stronger future for the country and a better life for its people.

“Burundi is one of the most medically and educationally neglected areas of the world,” Byrd said. “I am completely self-funding my travel and other expenses because I believe so strongly in the mission of these organizations and the good work that they do. Through this fundraising challenge, I’m hoping to collect donations from others to help this country that is in such dire need.”

One hundred percent of donations made to Byrd’s effort will be split equally between both organizations, and there are several ways to get involved.

Byrd has a Facebook group called “Sara’s Ride, The African GLO Tour 2018,” as well as a GoFundMe page, and she is also selling T-shirts. More information on the T-shirts and delivery options can be found through her link.

“It’s also possible to directly write a check to these charities,” she said. “Any and all forms of assistance can really make a difference.”

For more information on how to support Byrd’s effort, or just to cheer her on, reach out at