Tuesday, March 6, 2012

AIDS/LifeCycle 2012

Living in the San Francisco queer community, I know lots of people who are affected by HIV and AIDS. I see a lot of marketing for antiretroviral drugs. I promote discussion groups and support groups for those living with HIV and those who have lost friends, family members, and partners to the disease and its complications. I go to a lot of fundraisers that benefit causes like hospice care, safer sex education, free HIV testing, and AIDS awareness.

I can't give money to them all. But I do give something every year to AIDS/LifeCycle, the 7-day bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS.

I know several people who have participated in ALC as riders or as roadies, the backup support folks on the road with the riders. Some have done so for many years now (it began in 2001), and they all raise funds from sponsors before the big opening day. Fundraising can be as simple as circulating an email to buddies, asking, "Hey, would you buy me a cup of coffee? If you would, would you consider putting that money toward my campaign instead?" or as elaborate as throwing benefit parties with raffles and entertainment for hundreds of people. Participants put up posters in their neighborhood or their workplaces, add widgets to their blogs or Facebook pages, hold garage sales, and donate their birthday gifts to ALC.

This year, a perpetual roadie is making the changeover to rider! Kelly B. says she's out on a pedal bike for the first time in more than 20 years, and she's working hard on her training rides. Her fundraising goal this year is $10,000! "I want to do this for all my friends that will never make it to 50," she says. "The meds are getting better but ... We are not there yet."

So my charitable donation for March is to Kelly B.'s goal in the 10K Club for AIDS/LifeCycle. Funds raised go to support the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

You can donate, too! Search for your friend in the Participants section, browse and pick someone who could use the boost, or join me and many others on Kelly's page. It takes a lot to make this ride happen, so I'm supporting the folks who do the hard work. You can also make a general donation to ALC 2012. All contributions are tax-deductible, and you'll receive a receipt by email for your records.

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