There are many ways to raise awareness about clean water. Fundraisers, educational  programs, non-governmental organizations are all great ways to expose the issue on a global scale. However, 70-year old Chico, California native, Shirley Adams, created an innovative way to raise awareness. She decided to pedal cross-country for her organization, Bridging the Gap by Giving, which provides clean water to African countries.

Adams’s interest in water stemmed from her work as a swimming instructor. Today, she works year round to provide her organization with enough funds for new clean water projects in developing nations. Today, Shirley and her husband raise awareness and money through long distance cycling.

According to World Mag, her project began in 2005. Over the past seven years she has raised over $500,000 for her cause. As a result, around 14,000 have gained access to clean water in developing countries.

According to Adams, the project took off after she rode her bike cross-country wearing a shirt that read “everyone needs clean water.” The shirt included a link to the organization’s website. Amazingly, on that trip alone she raised more than $30,000. Her trip was so successful that even big corporations such as the Hilton foundation “matched it dollar for dollar.”

Most recently, Adams and her husband have set out on another cross-country venture. They rode on the 2,300 mile stretch that covers every state from Maine to Florida. In their time off, they focus on their family and church.

Adams has stated that they hope to beat their $30,000 mark, which was the highest amount the organization has ever raised via cross-country biking. The Adams family also hopes to publicize the cause by selling shirts, jackets, and caps along the way. They also plan to wear their shirts throughout the trip.

– Stephanie Olaya

Sources: World Mag, Bridging The Gap By Giving
Photo: NH Outdoors