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545 miles... On a bike! There's got to be a reason, right?

AMPED. My partner in crime (on the left) and I sportin' our "first time rider/roadie" red beads at the ALC Expo in SF!
AMPED. My partner in crime (on the left) and I sportin' our "first time rider/roadie" red beads at the ALC Expo in SF!

Donate to support Melissa!
Team Cal
No Badges Have Been Earned
We're on our way
102 percent of goal achieved.
Goal: $3,000.00
Achieved: $3,050.00
Thanks to my generous sponsors

Of course!

I am riding to end AIDS.

From June 2-8, 2013 I'll be sweating atop my beloved Cannondale, pedaling alongside thousands of others across Steinbeck country, coastal highways, artichoke fields and valleys, all the while soaking up plenty of Vitamin D in this year's AIDS LifeCycle. Not a mere recreational ride nor the makings of a quarter-life-crisis - this 7 day, 545 mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles is an incredible fundraiser that serves to support both the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

 While studying anthropology at Cal, many of my medical anthropology classes addressed HIV/AIDS. Our professors encouraged us to look at the illness through both a biological and cultural lens, and in analyzing the rhetoric used to address the epidemic it became clear: judgment was and still is applied to those who are at-risk or living with HIV/AIDS, leading to stigmatization and many a misunderstanding.

One of the greatest misconceptions is that HIV/AIDS (due to recent advances in biomedicine) is somehow over. To date, 60 million people have contracted HIV and 25 million have died of AIDS-related causes. In California, 151,000 people are living with HIV, and 7,000 more will become infected this year. More than two-thirds of all Californians living with HIV reside in Los Angeles County or the San Francisco Bay Area.

The costs associated with medical care and treatment for a person with HIV is about $20,000 per year. Access to life-saving drugs, clinical trials and state-of-the-art treatment are crucial! Many HIV positive people are healthier, living longer, and enjoying a better quality of life because of the services offered by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.

That is why I'm asking for your support in helping me reach my fundraising goal of $3,000 by giving what you can, be it $10, $20, $50, $100 or more! The ALC is meant to raise awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS and to support the agencies that need these funds now, more than ever. $3,000 is the marker I have to hit in order to ride in this year's ALC, and below I've added some stats so y'all know just where your dollars end up:

$2,500 can help four HIV-positive people receive safe and stable housing situations for one month.

$1,000 covers a full year of medical supply costs for 55 patients.

$500 can help 15 people receive medical benefits counseling to obtain prescription drug assistance.

$250 provides Rapid HIV Antibody tests to 20 clients.

$175 provides HIV prevention counseling sessions to 20 teenagers.

$150 provides comprehensive HIV/STD testing to 1 client, or help provide 1,000 syringes through the street-based Syringe Access Service.

$100 provides Hepatitis A and B vaccinations to 1 client.

$25 covers the treatment medication for 1 client infected with an STD.

$10 buys 143 condoms that the Health Education and Prevention Program will distribute.

When those headwinds hit, when I begin the ascent up Quadbuster Hill, and when the ibuprofen eventually fails to ameliorate the soreness in my legs, I promise to keep each and every one of you in my thoughts and close to my heart :) 

Thank you all so so much for your support - love, hugs and endless gratitude to you all,


P.S. If you can't wait till June for my postcards, photos, and re-enactments, ch-ch-check out this clip for a better sense of the ALC experience, why others ride, and who your donations support.