March 13, 1997 I walked into the campus health center at Cornell University to receive my HIV test results - I was a freshman & 19 years old. The wait was excruciating...and I later realized the staff was scrambling to find someone/anyone to counsel to me on the news they were about to impart. The best they could do was a lesbian OBGYN. She told me my diagnosis was no longer a death sentence. With new medications & self care, I might live another 10-12 years. Fear, sadness & shame overwhelmed me...I thought I was going to puke.
Over the next 9 years, I struggled. I struggled with the side effects of the life-saving drugs. I struggled with the shame & social stigma associated with being HIV+...especially in a small town. I struggled with the thought I would be dead by age 31. I coped with alcohol & drugs and proceeded down a self-destructive path.
Today, I'm happy, healthy & 13 years sober. I have an amazing life with an amazing partner! I have a successful business and the possibilities are endless. It's taken a LOT of hard work - mentally, spiritually & physically.
I'm riding to help all the other closeted young people out there who can't fathom living a life with freedom & happiness. I'm riding to provide sexually curious youngsters education and services to prevent contracting the virus. I'm riding for that scared little boy who's just been diagnosed & thinks his life is over. I'm riding for me...the younger me...& the services I wish were available when I was younger.
Fom May 31st to June 6th, 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.
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?