Thank you for joining me in this cause!
Yup! I am doing it again - my forth year! May 31st - June 6th, over 3,000 Cyclists, Roadies and Virtual Cyclists will be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
As many of you know, last year was my third year of participating in the AIDS/LifeCycle event in CA. With your amazing and generous help, I was successful in raising just shy of $41,000. This year, I have set a personal goal of $45,000 dollars and have increased my own personal financial commitment again. I hope you will not only consider donating to this great cause again, but also the personal challenge of just a little bit more.
I cannot possibly convey the heart felt appreciation and caring of each and every one of the donors, riders, roadies and community support experienced along the course of the ride. Physically, each hill and each mile was known and felt. Mentally, any challenge during the ride was quickly swept away by the camaraderie of strangers forming this extended family and support group over the course of the week and 545 miles. Last year - I was even more blown away by friends and family who took the challenge of "just a little bit more". I heard from friends from years ago with donations of all kinds as well as encouraging messages of support and heartwarming stories of personal loss and growth from those losses.
But again, I sit here looking back at each year’s ride and, the glaring differences from when I did my first AIDS ride over 20 years earlier, from Boston to NY. In those days, the community was fighting for equality on all fronts. Each night there would be discussions on the status of funding for healthcare, research, and progress in the fight against AIDS from testing refinement to better medical and pharmaceutical protocols; and of course discusion of loss. To lighten the mood and foster hope for the community numerous commitment ceremonies were performed and witnessed by the large extended family gathered for the ride.
I signed up for the ride again this year because the US administration is still jeopardizing the success of all those who have worked so hard and passionately to secure equality on all fronts for so many; not only marriage equality, but access to services and programs. Through deliberate action and ignorance of humane and fiduciary responsibility the US government is charged to uphold, critical programs and services are at jeopardy for so many. While certainly many wins remain, it is a somber reality that critical services and funding have been lost and are continuing to be eroded.
I know I have shared before, and I do so often on the ride when speaking with younger riders, my days in the hospital as a phlebotomist so many years ago are sobering. It was a time when the "epidemic" was out of control, fear was rampant and denial and complacency ended the lives of so many unnecessarily and too soon. Those same characteristics are creeping back into the political and social landscape that all fought so hard to extinguish.
So for that reason, I continue my support and passion for the cause! The ride and experience is just a bonus - albeit one of the best you could ever experience!
In closing, I hope you will be part of my team and support me as I roll out on May 31st for a 545 mile, 7-day adventure like no other!
Thanks as always!
PS - please feel free to share this link with friends and family!