SEVERE WEATHER ACROSS HOUSTON AREA WEDNESDAY

Cross-country bike ride aims to raise $11M for adults with intellectual, developmental disablities

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HOUSTON -- A team of cyclists from Houston and around the United States will embark on a 3,500-mile ride across the country this summer to raise money and awareness for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The PURSUIT FOR THOSE WITH disABILITIES campaign is expected to raise $11 million for The Center, a nonprofit organization that has been serving Houston for more than six decades. Cyclists will stop at similar nonprofit agencies along the route to share best practices and jump start a national effort to attract more attention and resources.

Pursuit is led by David Baldwin, an energy executive in Houston who has long championed The Center and its clients.

Along with his wife Maire, Baldwin has assembled has assembled a team of more than 200 volunteers, riders, sponsors and support staff to drive the effort.

"The life expectancy of adults with developmental disabilities has doubled over the last few decades," Baldwin said. "The population has grown and the needs are greater. The Center, and most of its peer agencies around the country, was not built to accommodate adults with such needs. Nationwide, as a society we are ill-prepared to serve this population adequately - in facilities, resources and care. This population has been under-served and overlooked for too long."

The ride begins June 6 in Orgeon, and will end on Aug. 3 in Maryland. Along the way, riders will pass through Portland, Boise, Yellowstone National Park, Badlands National Park, the Twin Cities, Madison, Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh before ending near Washington D.C.

Baldwin said it's about much more than a bike ride.

"This is a journey in every sense of the word," he said. "Thirty-five hundred miles is a long trek, but it's nothing compared to the challenges that this population faces every day."