Thank you for joining me in this cause!
It was 1996. I was 18 and pretty much the 'youngest' 18 you can imagine. A very late bloomer. To be frank, I'm not sure how I came across the AIDS ride from Minneapolis to Chicago. But that year had been a big eye opener for me. I found out that a person very close to me was transgender (I had no idea what that meant at the time) and one of my best best friends didn't identify as straight.
I was thrust into a new world where LGBT issues felt like issues that actually affected ME and the people I loved. I didn't know anyone living with HIV, but I knew that I needed to do something to support the LGBT community. Even now, HIV and AIDS disproportionally affects people in the LGBT community due to the community being vulnerable with limited resources, higher rates of homelessness and smaller support systems.
So, I jumped in. I was gifted a bike as my high school graduation present and I brought a bucket for donations to church and school until I raised more money than I ever thought I could at the time.
Then I got on my bike and rode from Minneapolis to Chicago with a tent city full of people passionate about the cause and about helping others. It was AMAZING! So amazing, that in 1997, I geared up and rode again.
Jump to 2017. It's 20 years since I did that second ride. I recently attended a volunteer orientation at the LA LGBT center because I wanted to get involved in their awesome programs for Trans people.
2 people from the AIDS/Lifecycle got up and talked about the ride. They talked about the grueling miles and about the way the ride lifts the human spirit. They talked about all of the good the ride can do for people with limited resources to prevent, treat and survive with AIDS. And I was sitting there thinking. "Oh my gosh, I did that. Like a lifetime ago. Maybe it is time to do it again."
The next morning I called my high school best friend Karen, who did the ride with me in 1996. Did she want to fly from Atlanta to California and ride with me again?!? 20 years later?!? and she said YES!
I am surprised how nervous I am. It was no biggie for my body to ride 500+ miles when I was 18, but I am turning 40 in November and it might be a little harder for my joints this go round.
But this is happening! and I definitely need you to make it happen. Thank you already for reading this far and clicking on my page to possibly donate to my mountain of a fundraising goal. Your support means a ton to me. and to the organizations (San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center) that are literally saving lives in vulnerable communities.
We’re working together to make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past. Will you support me by making a donation today?