Hawaiian Airlines Joins Cyclists to Fight AIDS

2005 Paradise Ride Takes Place, July 9-15

HONOLULU - Each year, cyclists from across the country join together to fight AIDS by participating in Paradise Ride – a multi-island route that takes riders through some of the most beautiful areas of Hawai'i while raising funds for three local AIDS organizations – Life Foundation on Oahu, Malama Pono – Kauai AIDS Project, and Maui AIDS Foundation. Logistically, transporting all the riders between islands can be a challenge, so Paradise Ride organizers were thrilled when Hawaiian Airlines stepped in to help out!

Hawaiian has a poignant history with Paradise Ride, as two of its employees have completed the ride in the past. After spending months at the bedside of fellow flight attendant Isaiah Kalama before he died of AIDS, Sueyen Ortiz decided to participate in the ride to show support for her friend. “I swore to devote myself to raising awareness and funds for the cure of AIDS,” said Sueyen. “I felt someone was pushing me up those hills.” Pedaling next to her was Leesha Kawamura, Hawaiian's strategic sales manager on Kauai, who joined Sueyen to honor Isaiah and others who have died of AIDS. “When you do something like this, it definitely builds character,” says Leesha. “The discipline carries on in your work.”

Since many of the cyclists who participate in Paradise Ride come from the mainland, Hawaiian is offering 5–10 percent discounts off its lowest published fares for Paradise Ride participants. In addition, Hawaiian is providing Paradise Ride with a discounted group fare to transport the riders between islands and is donating free seats to Paradise Ride organizers.

“We're very excited that Hawaiian Airlines has partnered with us for Paradise Ride 2005,” said Pamela Olson, Paradise Ride Director. “The sponsorship has a special meaning to us since Leesha and Sueyen personally contribute so much to the event and to the beneficiary organizations throughout the year.” Both women volunteer at Malama Pono – Kauai AIDS Project and participate in the annual Starbucks AIDS Walk for Life, which benefits Life Foundation.

The 2005 Paradise Ride will be held July 9-15. For more information, visit www.paradiseridehawaii.org or call 808-521-AIDS.

Established in 1983, Life Foundation is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization that is dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV and to assisting people who are living with HIV and AIDS. Anyone seeking HIV information or assistance can call Life Foundation at 521-AIDS (521-2437). All services are free and absolutely confidential.