Monday, 10 March 2014

The Cycling Soiree: A Guest's Perspective

Near the end of February, the 2014 H2H team hosted their third fundraising event for the season. Twas 'A Cycling Soiree:' a formal charity dinner held at KOTO Saigon. The purpose of the evening was to raise awareness about H2H and KOTO, as well as introduce the 2014 ride.

The evening was another huge success, raising a total of 19.7 million VND. Not only did we raise a lot of money, which will go towards supporting two students through KOTO's trainee program, but the attendees were all dressed to impress and faces were filled with smile lines.

Below are words from one of the evening's guests, Phil Battist. Unlike most of the guests that attended the Soiree, Phil had no relation to any of the riders, any of the expat community, or any idea what H2H was before he attended the dinner. Phil was traveling with his good friends throughout Southeast Asia, and stumbled upon myself and the lovely Gareth Katz. In conversation, I mentioned the upcoming dinner to Phil and his friends, and they all eagerly bought tickets to attend. Phil, an avid writer, asked if there was anything he could do to help me out. I suggested that he write about his thoughts on the evening so we could recount the event from an outsider's perspective. So, don't take my word that our Cycling Soiree was a huge success, but, for your consideration, take Phil's word:

"Gourmet food, live music, and a purpose; Cycling Soiree nailed it! My hat is off to the team of people that worked to put this event together as well as fund a great charity. The first thing that struck me was the atmosphere; the attitudes of the attendees could not have been more positive. The venue was beautiful, the people were classy and dressed up to match , everyone seemed genuinely ecstatic to support an amazing cause... not to mention excited for the delicious dinner the KOTO (Know One Teach One) staff prepared for us. As an outsider visiting the country, it was the first time in  my travels I witnessed a diverse group of people banding together to change lives forever.  The charities I am familiar with generally accept donations, but it is a rare phenomenon to actually see the faces of the people you work to help.  To accomplish their goal, the H2H  (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh) charity will cycle the entire country of Vietnam  in order to raise money to facilitate a future for orphans who possess next to nothing. Within the last five years they have raised $134,000USD, with $38,000USD being raised last year alone! The organizations proceeds go towards training in customer service and culinary practices for unfortunate children, providing them with hope, a plan, and a future.  It is truly amazing what they have accomplished through a shared dream of bettering a strangers life, some of the kids they have worked with now have families of their own. I feel immensely fortunate that I had the opportunity to experience this event and I am thankful I got to interact with such a caring and determined group of individuals."

-Words by Phil Battist


 Less than one month to go before H2H rides again on April 3rd, 2014!

Introduction words by Andrea

Photos by Rhys Jones

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