I’m gonna start out by saying very simply: aids/lifecycle changed my life.
listen I have always been a charitable person and a really really really loud gay glittery member of the LGBTQIA2 COMMUNITAY! but aids lifecycle changed the way I thought of the word community. cause I have always thought of community with a lower case c... but now I understand what it means to be part of a community with an upper case C!
I have often felt like our community (little c) was far away, vast and wide spread, less like a block party and more like a facebook thread where you interact with people with a quick thumbs up, scroll down, and then start reading a fake news article from russia. jk. I can’t read.
but aids lifecycle made me feel what its like to be truly part of a Community (big C) of people who are all working together to achieve a common goal. when you fall on the ride there are literally hindereds people to pick you up, when you are tired there’s an army of roadies there to give you fuel, medicine, massage, anything you need to finish that insurmountable hill you are approaching.
this past year on my final day I was THE LAST PERSON to leave camp. I was exhausted. my legs were shot. my ego bruised. my neck. my back. my *USSY AND ESPECIALLY MY CRACK WERE DONE. Thank you, NEXT! But one of teammates hung back to ride out with me. I am on a sober team, the trudging buddies, as i am 2 years and 5 months sober as of next week... thats 845 days but who’s counting... I am! The trudging buddies know what it is like to be there for another human being and to be of service and that morning was no exception. My riding buddy waited for me to get taped up and kept pace with me the entire morning while my anxiety skyrocketed as i was sure we would never make it to the rest of the team. He talked me off the ledge and helped me focus my thoughts and I made it to the first rest stop where I was so grateful to see the fellow members of my team. But I was still in bad shape, i could BARELY PEDDLE! So as I was limping around the rest stop a friend who worked at bike tech came up to me, we met 2 years ago on the ride, she was on a different team, “out serve” who are made up of LGBT members who have PROUDLY served this country regardless of the pressure they felt that they would not be accepted. She said: give me your bike! She’s a 6 foot tall ex military lesbian so i QUICKLY DID EXACTLY AS SHE SAID. She took my bike, did her bike tech lesbian magic, handed me back my bike and said: this will get you all the way home... and it did. From the moment I got back on the bike my legs stopped hurting, she fixed my bike, she fixed me, and i was speeding to the finish line once again... a goal i was sure i wound be able to achieve just a few hours ago. Community.
On our very last hill of the ride it was my riding buddy's turn to feel the burn... so now, feeling better and fixed, I was able to repay the favor of him insipring me all morning and be there to help him, inspire him, push him up the mountain! no literally i pushed him up the mountain... jk. And as we got to the top of the FINAL HILL I asked him about his Positive Peddlers badge, showing he was part of group who represent those people who are HIV+ and biking to END AIDS, and he shared with me how when he was first diagnosed with HIV his t-cell levels were non-existent. His health was almost completely gone and he was hanging on by a thread... and as we reached the summit of that FINAL HILL he turned to me and said: and now look at me, I CAN DO AMAZING THINGS! and he sped down the mountain... toward the finished line.
Two years in a row i have done every single mile on the aids lifecycle. That’s 545 miles of blood sweat and tears and i COULD NOT have done it alone. I HAD to ask for help. I HAD to be able to Help others. and I HAD the time of my life. That’s community with a BIG ASS C! And i am eternally grateful to Aids LifeCycle for helping me understand that... a lesson I have carried with me into every single other aspect in my life!
Now it is my turn to as YOU for help. I could not have done ANY of this without your generous support in the past and will not be able to do it this upcoming year wihtout your support again. So I ask you to think about where you are going to give your final big tax deductable doniation before the end of the year and encourage you to pick me and Aids/LifeCycle, as I have seen first hand where the money goes, and I promise you it helps so many woderful amazing people who desperately need it.
Thank you for everything. You are my bike angels!
All the best,