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.
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Molly, Peppy & Wyley
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Rowdy, Tanner, Cleo, Jum and Joey
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Chris Mason, CNWI
Karen E Reilly
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Julie & David Burg
Imagine, if you will, that you are on your way to participate in the AIDS LifeCycle (ALC) Candlelight Vigil which takes place on Day 6 of the 7-day ride. It is nearly dusk, and you, along with nearly 3,000 other people, start walking from ALC Camp to the beach, each carrying a candle placed in a cup to shield the flame from the wind. (The whole thing looks like a tiny little lantern). Some are carrying a photo or photos of loved ones lost to AIDS. But everyone has a candle.
By now it’s dark, and everyone walks in silence as you all gather on the sand, sitting in the sand and creating a circle that, when complete, is 10 people deep all the way around. Maybe you were one of the first ones to arrive on the beach, and so you get to watch hundreds and hundreds of people holding candles descend on what has become a most sacred space tonight. Maybe you’re at the tail end of the group, so when you arrive at the beach you see before you several thousand people already seated, illuminated in the glow of candlelight. Or maybe you’re in the middle of the pack, and so you get to see both. And then you find a spot in the circle and sit. And it’s absolutely silent with the exception of the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.
Have you ever been with a group of 3,000 people when it was absolutely silent? I never had. And if you had asked me if it was even possible, I would have bet against you. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?
And then it all came together for me. THIS is the essence of AIDS/LifeCycle. Yes, it’s about riding, and yes, it’s about raising funds to provide desperately needed services to those already infected with HIV and AIDS. And YES, it IS about that sense of community when everyone comes together for a common cause. It’s a powerfully profound experience, one I will not soon forget.
ALC June 2014 will be my second ALC ride. Most of you already know why I ride: I lost my best friend Chris to AIDS. I met Chris when I was just 22 years old and away from home for the first time. He taught me how to take care of myself, how to find a job and a place to live, how to shop, cook, exercise, dress, relax, meet people…all of that. He was patient, kind, understanding, and loving. Like a big brother, he watched me make mistakes and showed me how to learn from them. We laughed and cried together. And then he gently let me move on, grow up, and use what he had taught me to be on my own. I got a place of my own, and still he was there making sure I was going to make it. Chris was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1986, and died of AIDS on November 20, 1998 at the age of 47. We should all be so lucky as to have someone in our lives like Chris. I know I was.
Thank you in advance for your donation. For ALC 2012, you helped me raise OVER $7,000.00. Last year I signed on as a “Virtual Cyclist” and you helped me raise close to $1,500.00. Won’t you help me earn a fund-raising incentive or two? The possibilities are endless this year. Remember, we can’t ride without you!