Putting together an event of this size and caliber is a labor of love. It is an opportunity to bring together great people, great sponsors and great participants in a collaborative effort to help UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation (The Auxiliary Foundation) raise funds that are critical to its mission. Funds raised through the Hearts for Our Hospital Challenge / Big Bike Weekend (H4H) are used to support two primary initiatives within the The Auxiliary Foundation mission: (1) Capital equipment acquisitions and (2) Medical education scholarships for post-secondary education.


Capital acquisitions are major undertakings. The prime focus of The Auxiliary Foundation is to assist UF Health The Villages® Hospital Board of Directors in achieving its goal to provide state of the art equipment to the medical professionals in their efforts to diagnose and treat patients. The Auxiliary Foundation has been able to present over four million dollars to the hospital. While the list of acquisitions is impressive, the most recent is certainly noteworthy. In 2018, UF Health The Villages® Hospital unveiled its Digital Vascular Surgery Suite, helped along by a $700,000 contribution from The Auxiliary Foundation. This hybrid surgical suite allows for 3-D imaging in real-time. This allows for minimally invasive vascular surgical techniques to be employed. The hybrid nature of the surgical suite allows for it to revert to regular surgical approaches if needed.


It is great to have state of the art equipment. Equally important, however, is having well qualified, caring individuals interacting with patients and delivering the care. To this end, The Auxiliary Foundation imitated a scholarship program in 2015 to provide post-secondary scholarships to area seniors pursuing education in the medical and allied health care fields. What is neat about these scholarships is that they will represent a two-year or four-year commitment based upon the degree program and automatically renew if the student achieves good grades and maintain satisfactory academic standing. To date, The Auxiliary Foundation has recognized 31 area seniors and committed to $236,000 in scholarship to them! In 2015, 2 students were awarded scholarships. In 2018, that number was 18. Your participation helps us to continue the number of students recognized and rewarded!


In addition, Project SOS-Support Our Soldiers, Inc. is a proud supporter of the H4H. Their partnership with The Auxiliary Foundation provides military families in need the opportunity to realize the dream of a college education for their children. This enables them to not only help themselves but also to assist their families. Project SOS encourages all those young and old who have served in or supported our Armed Forces to participate in this amazing event. So, volunteer, sign up to ride, or pledge to a rider! If riding, join the Armed Forces Division Challenge Team of your choice during registration. The Armed Forces Division Challenge Team that raises the most pledge dollars will not only receive the traveling trophy but also have the pleasure of supporting our fellow veterans and their families.


The Hearts for Our Hospital Bicycle Challenge / Big Bike Weekend is proud to play a key role in helping UF Health The Villages® Hospital Auxiliary Foundation achieve its annual fundraising goals. It is extremely important to us that we provide a meaningful way for cyclists, businesses and all interested parties to give back to their community – be it state of the art equipment or the budding minds of our area graduates. When we work together, we win together!