OK, it looks like I'm coming back!
On the heels of 2019's amazing experience on the ride, I have decided to come back in 2020 - although I still haven't decided if I am going to be a roadie again or return as a cyclist! I'm very excited at the thought of either, honestly. To push myself to cycle again will be challenging, I know. And I know I would miss being with the Gear & Tent team so much! But change is good too. I JUST DON'T KNOW YET! Either way - I will be back in 2020, and that is the most important thing.
I have always said I will continue in this fight against HIV and AIDS until there is no longer a need. I hate to say it - but there is still a need. I am just one of the 16,000 people living with HIV in San Francisco, and sometimes I forget that I am actually luckier than others out there. Many of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. do not have access to meds or resources they need to keep themselves healthy and thriving. And the stigma associated with being HIV+, even in 2019, can really be overwhelming. I always take for granted that I can wear my HIV status on my sleeve in the Bay Area. But even when I travel home to upstate New York - I can see the reaction in people when we talk about my HIV. Being HIV+ is not something to be afraid of or ashamed of. So many of us are raised with the belief that those different from us are bad or wrong - no matter what those differences are. It has become one of my driving needs - to help end the stigma around living with HIV, and educating others - especially youth. If you learn at an early age not to fear something - that is what sticks with you. To quote Rodgers and Hammerstein - you have to be carefully taught.
SO, that's why I do this event! And I hope you will join me on this journey buy donating as generously as you can. I raised over $52,000 last year and I am hoping to raise another $50,000 in 2020. With your help, I can do it - I just know it!
Thank you, as always, for supporting me over these years. This marks my 15th time participating in this event and I simply could not do it without your love and support. XOXOXOX