I'm Riding to End AIDS ~
From May 31st to June 6th, my partner Cole and I will be cycling in our 6th AIDS/LifeCycle ~ the 7 day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles ~ to make a true difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS, and to help San Francisco become the 1st city in the world with a ZERO transmission rate for HIV. A program already well in process with amazing results. Although this is my 5th ALC, it will be my 4th as an employee of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. I can promise you from the inside, the commitment, passion, and drive of every single person who works or volunteers for the Foundation, is inspirational, and humbling. Every one of these amazing people is committed to helping individuals on a personal level, with a vision to a future world free of HIV, and other life debilitating STI's, as well as counseling and care for those who struggle with substance abuse.
If you would like to know more personally why I ride, take a moment to read my story:
In March of 1980, during spring break of my Junior year at UCLA, I met my first partner and dear friend, Kenn Honeychurch. I was 20 and had recently transferred from a small college in southern Illinois to study cinema with aspirations of being the next George Lucas or Steven Spielberg. Kenn, 21, was a funny and brilliant film student who also played a mean piano for all the silent films shown at UCLA and all around LA. Through long talks, Phyllis Diller records, and an array of movies, Kenn, with his compassionate and funny heart, helped me come to a greater place of not only accepting myself, but loving myself. Kenn and I were partners for less than a year before deciding to be close friends, but his impact remains one of the most pivotal and seemingly predestined moments in my life. When I said goodbye to Kenn in 1982, as I prepared to head off to grad school, he related a story about a strange disease a friend of his had which created dark spots on his skin. He said they were calling it "the gay disease." We looked at each other asking, how can a disease single out a group of men?
The answer to that question loomed over the next few years as the development of AIDS grew alarmingly fast. 1982-1985 - I was in grad school studying design and production for the performing arts. With heightened awareness due to my area of study, I saw friends and artists dying at staggering rates as a daily reality. Fear and lack of information was rampant. I was in my early 20s and life had all of a sudden become a frightening battleground. Fear of death from perhaps something as simple as a kiss, was a reality. In 1989 I learned of Kenn's death from AIDS. His partner, who I had met a few years earlier, called to tell me he had passed. I didn't know he had AIDS. Kenn had kept it to himself, not wanting to alarm his friends. I found it nearly impossible to grasp. Someone with so much talent and joy for life. Why was this happening?
It was almost 38 years ago Kenn and I had that talk about the strange marks, and the "gay disease." As the synchronicity of the universe would have it, this year marks the 38th anniversary of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. We have come a long way. We have further to go.
This is why I ride in the AIDS Lifecycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles - to raise money to help those, like Kenn, like all my friends who have passed, and those who are living with HIV/AIDS, so they may have the assistance, knowledge and care that wasn't there 38 years ago. With your help, we can make a difference for all those who still need someone to reach out to them, with love, compassion, and knowledge.
Help me support AIDS/LifeCycle, and we'll keep riding until AIDS and HIV are a thing of the past.
For All You Do ~ Thank You So Much! <3