AIDS/LifeCycle benefits, and is jointly produced by, San Francisco AIDS Foundation (Tax ID # 94-2927405) and L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center (Tax ID # 95-3567895), each of which is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation recognized as tax exempt under IRS Code Section 501(c)(3). Donations to AIDS/LifeCycle are deductible for income tax purposes, to the extent permitted by law.
Bike the change that you want to see in the world
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We're on our way
HOORAY!!! I've reached my fundraising goal! Thanks, Keiko for being my final donor. If you've come to this page to make a donation (for Dear Reader or for me;), please, please donate it to my friend Valeria's fundraising effort - she still has a ways to go! THANK YOU!
A few weeks ago, I went to a birthday picnic celebration in Dolores Park for my friend Dana, who has now returned to her native South Africa to continue her battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma. In her emails organizing that sunny October afternoon party, Dana was very specific about not wanting to talk about her cancer, the new cells they found in her neck, the alternative therapies she would be receiving in South Africa -- she wanted this to be a celebration of LIFE, in all its glory.
I thought it especially fitting, then, that I rolled up to the party all dusty and sweaty, straight from an epic mountain bike ride in Marin. It was the greatest kind of ride -- long open traverses, massive lung-busting climbs, harrowing wheel-sliding descents, sweeping vistas down to the sea that make your heart sing, with large doses of self-inflicted suffering that make you know that you are ALIVE. I apologized for arriving all dirty and Dana instead grabbed me in a great big hug that made me want to pass as much of that ALIVENESS to her as I possibly could.
We didn't talk about cancer. But we did talk about AIDS. Dana said that at home in South Africa, she is surrounded by that suffering -- and the only reason why it wasn't tearing her apart is that all her energy is focused on her own healing. The numbers are staggering. 5.6 million living with HIV (almost 7 times the population of SF!), of which 3.3 million are women. Nearly 2 million children orphaned by AIDS, children raised without parents, orphans raising each other, with devastating emotional, psychological, and economic consequences for those children and for the fabric of society. And it's getting worse... education about preventative measures and safe sex and is being swamped by male bravado and swagger -- in the most sexually-active age brackets, 1 in 3 men is infected with HIV.
A friend, overhearing our conversation, slumped her shoulders and sighed, "It's so sad... what can you do about it?" Gandhi's quote popped into my head, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Only through my biking lenses, amidst the throngs of bike-loving hipsters in SF's favorite sun-bathing spot, it came into my head slightly differently, "Bike the change you want to see in the world." That's what I'm going to do about it. Is the money I raise going to go to Africa? Not directly. But neither was the food that your Mom forced you eat because "there are children starving in Africa." Still, you can bet that if we find a cure, if we develop vaccine, as we come up with more effective treatments, more humane patient care, it will all contribute to beating this worldwide crisis.
From June 3 to June 9, for the second year in a row, I'm going to bike the change I want to see in the world, by riding my bicycle 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to help beat AIDS. I invite you to join me - it's a life-changing experience. Not a biker? You can learn... Or you can join my awesome friend Kim Lembo's volunteer roadie crew who provide support for the ride. Can't get the time off work? Not interested? Dedicated to other important causes? You can still donate to our fundraising efforts. Bike the change, Support the change, Spare some change. And together we'll change this world for the better.