The Day My Life Changed Forever: I found out I was HIV+
It was March 27, 2007, and it was the day my life changed forever. I was 27 years old. I was sitting at my desk working at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and received a call from my doctor that a biopsy taken from my mouth earlier that week was cancerous. It wasn't just any cancer, though. It was Kaposi's sarcoma. It was at that point that I knew I was HIV positive. My worst nightmare seemed to be coming true. For the next few years, I silently and secretly dealt with being positive, afraid that I would be shunned or never be able to date again.
My Life Was Saved.
Thankfully, I had a very competent and compassionate physician, Dr. Miriam Cameron, who helped me find the right drug regimen. She was at the same time my cheerleader, my therapist, my spiritual confessor, and friend. With her constant monitoring and encouragement, I slowly started building up my immune system, which at its lowest point found me with a CD4 count of 57 (below 200 is clinically considered AIDS). My CD4 count is now well over 600!
Stigma KILLS. Awareness Brings LIFE.
I didn't always deal with my disease with grace: I made bad choices as a means of dealing with the stigma and the fear of dying young and dying alone. As time went on and as I slowly began to accept things as they were, my life improved. After keeping my deepest secret from my parents, I came out (again) to them about my health status. It was at that point that I began resisting the power of HIV to make me its slave. I refuse to be bound by the stigma others attempt to hoist on me. In that same spirit, I decided to ride in the 2017 AIDS Lifecycle this year. I need to give back for all that has been done for me.
Today, I am grateful for having HIV.
it helps me see the sufferings of others in a way I never could before. I now appreciate life in a qualitatively new way. It inspires me to reach out and offer a comforting hand, hug, and listening ear.
Won't you help me in that effort?
Thank you for your support!
2017 AIDS Lifecycle Information: June 4th - June 10th, 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!
The services provided as a result of this event mean the world to those who receive them, and your support means the world to me.
We're working together to make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past. Will you support me by making a donation today?
My Personal Web Log
Oakland - Treasure Island - Point Richmond
Shawn and I went out for a nice, leisurely ride yesterday! We hit the Bay Bridge to Yerba Buena/Treasure Island, and then road back over to Point Richmond, where we gorged ourselves with a good lunch! We then road back through Richmond to the Elhone Trail back to Oakland, but not before stopping in Albany to enjoy some vegan cashew ice cream.....that was, I assure you...the proverbial "shit"...yummy!!!
by Michael Peterson on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 @ 12:34 PM
We hit $10,000!!!
Friends, well, we did it! We hit $10,000!! Thank you so much for helping me reach this HUGE milestone. Of course, this just means that I'm pushing my fundraising goal to $12,500 (and I promise I won't be hitting you all up as vociferously as I have in the past few months!). Thank you all so much for your awesome support of AIDS/LifeCycle. You're helping so many people by your generosity and kindness. Education is key - we need to focus on preventing the transmission of this disease and attempting to find a cure.
by Michael Peterson on Tue, Apr 04, 2017 @ 7:56 AM
Orinda Bart/Lafayette/3 Bears
My AIDS/LifeCycle Training / Fundraising Update!
Hey Friends! I had an amazing ride that kicked my ass on Saturday! The mileage was shorter (26.82 miles), but the hills were KILLER! Together we have raised $8400! That's just $1600 away from the major 10K mark! I'm feeling great and getting super excited for the ride, which will take place June 4 - 10 to raise much-needed funds for HIV/AIDS services like medication, education, and research. Please consider donating generously today!
by Michael Peterson on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 2:33 PM
Orinda BART to Treasure Island
Today I had an awesome AIDS/LifeCycle ride and made a bunch of new friends. I am LOVING the sport of cycling, getting to see the Bay Area, and riding to help those struggling with HIV/AIDS. This ride for me has really helped me release the shame I have felt for the past ten years about having HIV. This ride is helping to transform me!
by Michael Peterson on Sat, Feb 25, 2017 @ 10:08 PM
Feb. 18 - Orinda BART and Oakland Hills - 20 miles
Shawn, Robert, and I headed out from the Orinda BART and traveled through the beautiful East Bay towns of a Orinda and Moraga. It was absolutely beautiful - lush greenery all around. It was one of those moments that just make you happy to be alive - when you can't believe that your surroundings are as beautiful as they actually are. We hit the top of Grizzly Peak - hills are fun!!! We then sailed down near the Claremont Hotel, flew down Telegraph ave, and stopped for amazing Indian-style chicken/waffles (yes, they were the shit!!). A great day!
by Michael Peterson on Sun, Feb 19, 2017 @ 7:19 AM
Feb 12 - My Ride with Poz Pedalers - Marin County
Today, I rode with the Positive Pedalers, a group of mostly men who also have HIV. It was so wonderfully affirming - I definitely felt that I was with my "tribe". I met amazing people and was inspired, not only from the people, but from the beautiful vistas of San Francisco and Marin County. 42 miles today, and I kicked ass. I also jumped up to nearly $7000 raised from you, my generous family and friends!! Thank you!!
Won't you help me get $10K?!
Let's do this!!
by Michael Peterson on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 @ 10:20 AM
Feb. 5th - Yerba Buena Island Ride
Had a great 20 mile ride out to Yerba Buena with my inspiring friend Harry Stark, who shared his amazing experiences with the ALC ride. I feel even more jazzed to be doing this ride and making a difference!!
by Michael Peterson on Sun, Feb 05, 2017 @ 4:49 PM