Jin Zidell and Team Hope In Race Across America

At the age of 73, Jin Zidell, Founder and Chairman of Blue Planet Network went an extra 3,000 miles for those who thirst for safe drinking water. And for only a penny a mile, or $30, you can go too!

Jin joined Team Hope for what is considered the toughest bicycle race in the world, Race Across America (RAAM), an international attraction for cyclists that has become a platform to raise money for charitable causes. It is one-third longer than the Tour d’ France and takes place in one-half the time. RAAM started on June 16, 2012 in Oceanside, CA and ended in Annapolis, MD, 3,000 miles later, non-stop. Jin was featured on KTVU Channel 2 News several times the day the race started on June 16.

Team Hope, a 4-person team, raced RAAM 2011 as a fundraiser for Blue Planet Network, an award-winning international nonprofit Jin founded in 2002. Blue Planet Network's mission is to exponentially increase the impact of safe drinking water and sanitation programs for people around the world. Its online technology platform mobilizes the global water sector with innovative tools to leverage investment impact and radically improve water program management, monitoring, and analysis. Blue Planet Network members have completed projects in over 1,300 communities, helping more than 981,000 people gain access to sustainable clean water and sanitation. With readily available clean drinking water people have better opportunities for health, education and economic prosperity, particularly for women and girls who spend their days lugging water for their families. Three million girls will miss school this week – and 1 in 10 girls drop out of school or miss one week per month when they reach puberty – because they lack access to clean water and private sanitation. Worldwide, it is estimated that on a single day women can spend over 200 billion collective hours fetching water. "Every 20 seconds, a child dies from diseases associated with a lack of clean water. That adds up to an unconscionable 1.5 million young lives cut short each year," stated Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Jin started training for RAAM 2012 in August 2011. Until then, Jin had biked only 30 miles in the past 30 years, and he had never participated in an endurance event.  Last year, the fastest 4-person team crossed the US in 5 days, 11 hours and 17 minutes – sustaining a 140 miles per day per biker.

Jin's teammates were 30, 47 and 52 years younger than himself! You can see the great company he keeps at on the team hope web site.

As Jin puts it, "I have invested one half of my wealth, 10 years of my time, most of my mind space in Blue Planet Network. Now I am making my biggest investment of all in Blue Planet Network – my body." See this video post on his blog .

Team Hope raced to raise funds for safe drinking water for 700 students at Saint Bonaventure/Saint Charles School in Uganda. Half are orphans. Each child has to walk miles a day for water and haul it back to school. Then they need to boil it. Team Hope and Jin are racing to let those children be full-time students and lead healthy, productive lives.

For as little as $30, or a penny a mile of RAAM, you can help Blue Planet Network provide one of these students with safe drinking water.  That’s right, $30 to transform one life with clean water! As Jin puts it, "That is a really good value proposition."

For more information on Blue Planet Network, and to sponsor Jin and Team Hope's endeavor, see contact details above, or donate directly at http://blueplanetnetwork.org/donate.