It's been probably 25 to 30 years since AIDS first came onto the national radar, although it's been around close to 40 years or so. My first memories of hearing about AIDS are associated with the late actor Rock Hudson. He was this 60's hearthrob and the fact that he died of AIDS - and was revealed to be gay - caused quite the scandal. I was a teenager at the time, just starting to come to terms with my own homosexuality, and began to associate being gay with having AIDS and was thus convnced it was a death sentence. I was afrad of being gay and seeing how society treated people who were gays only made it more frightening.
I - and the rest of the world - have come a long time since then. I've learned to embrace being gay, and much of society has learned to accept homosexuals for who they are. Last week, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same sex marriage. Yet for all of our accomplishments, there are many places where being gay is still not accepted, and there is much work to be done.
The same goes for HIV and AIDS. While advances in medicine and a better educated populace have stopped the disease from being the death sentence it once was, the fact is that we are still without a cure. And people are still contracting it. And those living with it are still being shunned by most of society. That is why I'm participating in the Red Ribbon Ride - because there is much to be done and I want to do my part.
The Red Ribbon Ride takes place July 18-21, 2013. It's a four day, 300 mile bicycle tour to raise money for HIV/AIDS charities. Help me raise funds for eight Minnesota AIDS service organizations.
I need your help to reach my goal. I hope I can count on you to support me on my journey of hope for thousands of Minnesotans with HIV/AIDS and those at risk of infection.
You can make a donation to my fundraising campaign right here by clicking on "Click here to make a gift to my name", just above the thermometer. If you prefer to write a check, you can download a donation form by using the link at the bottom of the page.
Over the next few months I plan to update this page frequently so you can follow my progress, so please visit often. While you're here, spend some time on the site to find out more about why this event is so important, and learn about the people who will benefit from the money we raise.
Thank you for your support!
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