Can you believe I'm DOING IT AGAIN!!! I signed up for the AIDS/Lifecycle 2019 on Day 0 - that is our orientation day - before I'd even started the 2018 Ride! I knew that I was crazy, signing up to do something AGAIN before I'd even done it ONCE. As the week progressed - and I can honestly say it was one of the most challenging weeks of my life - I was more and more certain that I'd made the right decision. I can't imagine NOT participating.
The Ride was truly a life-changing experience. Throughout the week, I marvelled at the myriad of ways that this Ride impacts not only those affected with HIV/AIDS (through the record-breaking amount of donations ... over 16 MILLION raised in 2018), but also those who have their hearts and minds changed by an outstandingly positive representation of the LGBTQ community and all those who support it. I saw random strangers standing on the roadside - in the middle of nowhere - urging us onward with posters and streamers. I saw elderly men and women sitting on their lawn chairs waving to us as we whizzed past their homes. I saw children serving hamburgers, raising money for their school programs, completely at ease with the cast of characters that streamed through their school. I have truly witnessed how the "times have changed," and I'm so grateful for it.
However, at this moment in history we are living in an unstable country. Our political climate is the worst that it has ever been in my lifetime, and I worry about the much-needed funding for treatment and research that comes from governmental sources. We cannot rely upon that funding as a given with the current administration that is "governing", so it is still vitally important that we take matters into our own hands and ensure that treatment, research, and the progress towards a cure continues! We are living, blessedly, in a time when HIV is no longer considered a death sentence and treatment exists to prevent the spread of the virus, but we must continue the work ... and that means continuing the funding. That is why I ride, and why I'm so grateful to be a part of this life-changing, life-saving mission.
I'm also grateful for YOU, my donors, who inspired me all along the way last year, and will inspire me once again this coming year as I pedal my way from San Francisco to Los Angeles! Every bit counts - from $5 to $500 - and I'm thankful for every penny!
Much love to you, and here's to another record-breaking AIDS/Lifecycle!!