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I'm both proud and a bit in shock that this will be my ELEVENTH year with AIDS/LifeCycle! ALC is a seven day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that aims to raise money and awareness in the fight to end HIV/AIDS. I have been a Rider twice, and a Roadie eight times, including two years as the Captain of Water Stop! This year, I'll be back on Water Stop as a Roadie once more! Even though AIDS/LifeCycle is always the most physically challenging week of my life, it is also by far the most rewarding.
At this point in my life, it's hard to imagine a June without AIDS/LifeCycle, but deep in my heart, I also always hope that each year is the last year. Since my first ride, ALC 7, my mantra has been: "While I'm too young to remember a world before HIV/AIDS, I'm hopeful enough to believe that I will live in a world after HIV/AIDS has been defeated. But, just like each previous year, I simply can't do it without your support.
Why am I doing this incredibly challenging ride again? Why have I decided to commit myself to spending a week in the sun, doing really challenging hard labor, for the last ten years? Because I believe that the battle against the epidemic of HIV/AIDS is one that has gone on for far too long, and needs to be fought and won in our lifetimes. More than thirty years ago, the first case of "GRID" was documented -- the precursor to AIDS. Since the beginning of the epidemic, a total of 28,409 San Francisco residents have been diagnosed with AIDS, which comprises 18% of California AIDS cases and 3% of cases reported nationally. Across the United States, someone is infected with HIV every 9 1/2 minutes - but an estimated 21% of people living with HIV are undiagnosed.
The battle to end HIV/AIDS doesn't stop in this country: it is estimated that 33.4 MILLION people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, 60 million people have contracted HIV and 25 million have died of AIDS-related causes. Women and people of color are disproportionately affected, and more than half of all new infections are in people under 25. This epidemic affects EVERYONE, and this ride will help raise money to combat this disease. But, again, we cannot do it without your support.
Donating is easy - just click the button to the right or the link below. I am asking everyone to donate just $37, if they can, to commemorate the 37 years of struggle in the fight against this disease. Any amount helps, though - if you can't donate $37, consider donating at least $17, to celebrate the 17 years that AIDS/LifeCycle has been raising money to fight HIV and AIDS. If you can donate $25 a month for 4 months, that's $100 right there! Every dollar that I raise goes directly to funding lifesaving services at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
I know that these are difficult economic times. Money is tight for everyone, everywhere. I know there are tons of worthy causes to donate to. If you can’t afford to donate yourself, please consider passing this link on to someone who can. Also know that the money that this ride raises helps improve and extend the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. All the money we raise goes directly to the SF AIDS Foundation and the LA LGBT Center to help fund services for those suffering from HIV/AIDS. In the face of scary political changes, donations to foundations that provide life-saving services have become even more critical and urgent that before.
I am so unbelievably excited to participate in this amazing ride once again. Your support will go a long way in not only helping me achieve my crazy goal, but also in helping those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
Lastly, I want to thank all of my past donors. Without your support, I would not be doing this ride. As I prepare for my ELEVENTH year on the ride, it is each of you who keeps me going. It is you who helps me end this fight agains HIV/AIDS.
Love to you all!