First, THANK YOU so much for visiting my page and taking an interest in this important cause. I'm so excited for this journey. It's going to be physically and mentally challenging, but I'm ready. In order to make this happen I need your support to make this journey a reality! Below I wrote out some background about myself, why I'm doing this and how I plan to include you in it. If you know you want to contribute a donation to this cause please feel free to just follow this link to donate:
Who am I? (Still figuring that out, but so far)
Well at this point you should at least know my name is Ruben Mojica Hernandez.
In a nut shell: I grew up in Colusa, a beautiful small agricultural based community in Northern California. Attended UC Berkeley for undergrad and served as a volunteer in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps shortly after graduating. I completed my service in November 2015, and since have been working at the Environmental Protection Agency while also working on my Masters of Science in Environmental Management at the University of San Francisco.
On a deeper note: I absolutely love my family and friends (who I considered to just be extended members of my family). I care for them a lot. I big on volunteering and working with underserved communities and fighting for those who may not have a voice. However, as RuPaul has taught us, "if you can't love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else?" I do my best to take care of my body and mind, but I'm no fitness freak. To me taking care of my body and mind also includes treating myself to pizza and binge watching a Netflix show. So, this brings me to my next point
Why bike 545 miles (SF to LA)?!?!
Anyone that knows me understands that I love a challenge. I also value the importance of giving back, standing up for what's right, and doing what you can to make our world a better place. The AIDS LifeCycle touches on both of those! Not only will I be challenging my body and mind to ride a bicycle for 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but I also get to raise money for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment efforts! I know people who are HIV positive, all of who are important people in my life. I'm doing this for them and for everyone else how has been impacted by the epidemic.
In 2011, I volunteered in Tanzania, Africa doing HIV/AIDS education awareness and prevention with a non-profit. I saw firsthand the troubling effect that the stigmatization of HIV can have on a community and on a person who is HIV positive. In Peace Corps, I also had the opportunity in working with my site-mate (shout out to Mary Jane McCoy!) on a grass-roots soccer project that focused on educating adolescents in our community on HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health. In both experiences, I was inspired by the strength of the community and motivated by young people becoming informed and taking that knowledge to fight the stigma on their own. So, this brings me to my last pointThank you for joining me in this cause!
What's your role in this?
First, ASK ME ABOUT HIV/AIDS! Anything! I hope that through this experience I can continue to educate people and end stigmas for those living with the virus. This is how we can end this epidemic. To educate ourselves and communities on prevention and treatment, and reach out to those living with the virus and show them nothing but love and support.
Second, DONATE! Help me reach my goal of $6,000! This money will go towards education, prevention, and treatment for HIV/AIDS. Let's end the epidemic! Follow the donation link here:
Lastly! For each day I'm on the ride I'll be taking a picture with the names of people who donated to dedicate a day on the ride to you! Because this wouldn't be possible without you!
RIDE/DONATION DETAILS: June 2nd - June 8th, 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 to raise funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. This year, I'll be one of them!