Thank you for joining me in this cause!
On 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!
Why this cause?
I grew up with little or no knowledge of the LGBTQ community. I existed in conservative, non-diverse “straight” environments. I never knew anyone “gay”, but I always heard the “gay-bashing” throughout my military and professional careers, spoken from the lips of some of my closest colleagues and friends. I heard the ignorant and negative comments regarding Shipmates who we lost to AIDS. That stigma continues to permeate our lives today. As I got older and wiser (so to speak), I began to struggle with my true identity. I realized who I had become was not entirely “me”, but rather that of a conformist, and it was tearing me apart at my core. I entered into the LBGTQ family in my late 40’s and awoke the genuine “Chad”, the one that is eager to embrace and accept my own genuineness, as well as help others who continue to struggle finding self-acceptance. I converted HIV-positive at age 50. Thankfully, due to medical research and advances in medicines, I will live a full and healthy life. I have been successful "living" for over 12 years now. But the final success, or “victory”, will occur when the stigma, transmission risks and the disease itself are eradicated worldwide.
Why I do this ride?
- I do this ride to celebrate my existence and my acceptance into the diversity of mankind.
- I do this ride to honor those that “came before me”, those who lived and loved through the good times and who suffered insurmountable personal tragedies through the darkest days in the AIDS crisis.
- I do this ride to honor our lost lovers, friends, family and colleagues.
- I do this ride to honor and celebrate Shipmates, Active Duty and Veterans who we have lost or who continue to struggle with this disease in service and sacrifice to our Nation!
- I do this ride to bring awareness in accepting (one can only hope: "embracing") ALL of our Country’s individual lifestyles.
- I do this ride because I ride with Family, supported and loved by Family.
I do this ride to celebrate Life!
Will you please support me to help make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past? I sincerely appreciate any support provided, even if just through words of encouragement.
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART
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