From 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 the Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation. 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
Why I Ride
My story begins in eastern Tennessee, where I grew up. Chattanooga is home to more open-minded people than it often gets credit for. And it is, of course, beautiful there, surrounded by mountains and greenery. Being in nature has always brought peace to my life; and my love of the outdoors largely began there. However, the 80s and 90s were a confusing time for a young gay boy like me to be growing up in Tennessee. I had few LGBTQ role models. Heck, I hardly even knew what being gay really meant, even as I graduated high school. I struggled a lot as a teenager and into my twenties with issues common to LGBTQ youth: depression, bullying, feeling like I didn't belong. To be honest, I almost did not make it.
But flash forward through many turns and many years: Thankfully I did eventually find my footing; came out; and ultimately married the love of my life Clay, a native of southern California. We ended up resettling back in Los Angeles. I heard about AIDS/LifeCycle and the lifeline it provides to the LGBTQ community in California. Yet I didn't feel I had the strength to participate as a cyclist. Over the last couple years, though, I have gone through an amazing process of physical and mental renewal. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am now in the best shape of my life. And that is saying something, coming from a man who earlier in life hiked some of the most intimidating mountain trails across the world, from the Himalayas to the Alps to the Andes.
So, from May 31 to June 6 this year I will ride my first AIDS/LifeCycle. The funds raised by this event form a huge chunk of the budget for HIV/AIDS care and prevention undertaken by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Your donations are especially critical for extending support to people who too often in this country struggle for fair access to healthcare. The past few years have brought additional prevention and treatment options that make me hopeful we can finally end the HIV/AIDS epidemic over the next generation. Nevertheless, the epidemic continues to weigh heavily on my community. I have many friends and even had past boyfriends who are living with the virus. The hand of cards I was dealt in life happened to have not included an HIV diagnosis. However, I know it could have easily turned out differently for me. I am forever grateful to organizations like the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the work they do.
Thank you all for your love and support of me in this cause. I am training hard to pedal every single mile from San Francisco to LA. Please follow along my journey!
by Sean McMillan on Fri, Jan 03, 2020 @ 1:37 PM
Your Dollars at Work
You can find detail elsewhere on this website about how your donations are put to use:
"Why We Ride" --> "The Beneficiaries"
For convenience, though, please find below the Los Angeles LGBT Center's brief summary of the direct impacts donation dollars have for its programs:
$50,000 underwrites the cost of comprehensive HIV wraparound services by a case management team for 3 months for 135 patients.
$35,000 funds an HIV Counselor for 1,200 clients per year.
$25,000 covers 5 months of mental health therapy for 28 patients.
$15,000 provides comprehensive sexual health services, including HIV and STI tests, treatment, education, and counseling to 100 clients.
$10,000 covers 3 months of psychosocial case management for 300 patients.
$5,000 covers a full year of laboratory testing for 11 patients.
$1,000 funds one client receiving Post Exposure (PEP) to prevent HIV infection after potential exposure.
$500 covers a full year of medical supply costs for 20 clients.
$250 provides rapid HIV tests, with results in less than a minute, for 20 clients.
$100 provides comprehensive HIV/STI testing to one client.
$100 buys more than 1100 condoms for distribution throughout the Center's Community health programs and activities.
$30 covers the treatment medication for one client diagnosed with an STI.
$10 buys 114 condoms that the Health Education and Prevention Program will distribute.
by Sean McMillan on Fri, Jan 03, 2020 @ 1:33 PM