Thank you for joining me in this cause!
June 3rd - June 9th, 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. And for the second time, 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? Many of your have supported me in fundraising in the past, and I hope that you will continue to support me as I begin this exciting new adventure. Did you ever think you would see me riding 545 miles across California? No? I didn't see it either, but last year I completed this amazing ride and couldn't wait to sign up again! And here I am. The funds raised from ALC support the life changing work that I do everyday working here at SFAF... First at Strut as part of the PrEP Program, and now managing the Health Navigation Program and Positive Force, which helps link newly diagnosed clients to care and provide support and encouragement. The SFAF has been near and dear to my heart ever since I did my first AIDS Walk... and I am proud to be a part of the important work that we do every day. Thank you so much for showing the world that HIV is still here and that we will never stop fighting. Together we can change the course of this epidemic!
My Personal Web Log
Why I Ride... Again.
This August marks 10 years. 10 years since I was told "your test was reactive." 10 years of doubts. 10 years of fears. 10 incredible long years.
Over the past 10 years, I have rebuilt who I am. I changed careers. I built a life full of the most incredible, creative and loving cast of characters... and I'm the luckiest person on the planet. I have dedicated every possible moment to making a difference... some worked out, while others went down in flames... but hey, I tried. I've lost incredible people. I've made mistakes, and hurt people around me in the process. But Ive learned from that... and I'm not pushing people away any more.
Since being diagnosed, I've spent nearly 10 years working to help others like me... hopefully preventing some of the pain I experienced. And over time, I realized that being positive actually made me a better person. I found my calling... and I'm where I'm meant to be.
My goal all along was to end up at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. And for the past 2.5 years, I have had the privilege of taking my passion and turning it into something greater than me. In my role, I have experienced more pain than I thought possible... but also incredible moments of joy. I learned what it was like to be on the other side of the table, when I had to tell someone that their test was reactive... and fight back the tears, as I relived that moment through their eyes. I've sat with countless newly diagnosed folks and reminded them that they weren't going anyway... just as my friends told me. I have celebrated victories... when my clients got to undetectable, when they found love, when they realized their power... the moment they found the strength to tell their loved ones, and come back stronger knowing that they have support. This has been a gift that I can't repay. Those moments made me better.
Last year, I did a thing. I signed up for ALC.
I wish I could say that I did it for all the right reasons, but deep down it was for a selfish one. To prove myself wrong. I had been told that I could never do it. That I could never complete 545 miles. That I was too fat, too sick. And I was angry about it... and just a little petty. Lol
But through the process of training and starting this journey, I healed. And I did it surrounded by people that never once doubted me. When I struggled to climb mountains, I thought about the friends I had lost to HIV. I repeated their names. I thought about what they would say if they were next to me... mostly I heard, "Suck it up bitch. You got this girl." Needless to say, I climbed that fucking mountain. When I arrived in Ventura, I was greeted by friends and we sat together and cried during the vigil. That night I finally forgave myself for what happened... and realized how close I was to the finish line. I sat on the beach after everyone went to bed and cried... tears of joy. And when I rode into West Hollywood, I thought of every person who had supported me and carried them with me over the finish line.
This year will be different. I'm riding in memory of 2 incredible men.
I met Dave before ALC last year. We rode together everyday. We hung out together in camp... and helped each other with our injuries. Held him as he cried and processed his diagnosis . I bullied him into joining my little "family" at the vigil... and they welcomed him with open arms... and he healed some that night too. I even convinced him to join me in Disneyland afterwards... and I held his hand as I showed him my favorite place and celebrated our first ever ALC. He was like a small child, taking in every detail. Dave passed away in December. We had planned on doing the ride side by side again this year, so instead... I'm riding for him. I'm bringing his helmet with me so his presence will not be forgotten.
And I'm riding for Kerry. And his amazing partners. To thank him for everything he did for me.
Kerry is part of the worlds best "boyfriends"... and they made me their honorary 4th. These 3 men have seen me at my worst, and never shied away from it. Matt has always been my big brother... protective and ready to fight. Mark has been the voice of reason and always ready with sage advice... and adorable laughter. But Kerry, he was the quiet-ish one. He usually would wait for the boys to step away before he would chime in and offer support... usually during a breakup, his response would be simple... "fuck that guy. You were too good for him." He could be awkward, never sure how to join in on the celebration. But for years, he was there with us in Disneyland, just going along with it because it made his boys so happy. Kerry wasn't able to be there last year at the vigil or the finish line, because he was ill. But this year, he will be. Matt and Mark will be by my side at the vigil as we remember him. And he's crossing that finish line in my heart. All the years of him supporting me will never be forgotten. And he was right, I was too good for those guys... besides, I have 3 boyfriends that have never let me down. What more can a guy ask for?
I'm riding for everyone.
For the folks that have bared their souls to me at every PLUS seminar.
For the folks that have found their strength.
For every single donor that has believed in me all these years.
For my friends.
My niece Kali, nephews Bubba and Lucas, my god-kids Lila and Cruz... so that someday they won't live in a world with HIV.
For my community that has been scarred by this virus.
For those no longer with us.
10 years LIVING (and thriving) with HIV... and I'm still here... and I'm not going anywhere.
Please help me raise $10k to celebrate these past 10 years.
by Jimmy Gale on Mon, May 14, 2018 @ 5:26 PM