2016 Red Ribbon Ride
You may recognize the letter below from last year. As I read through it, I couldn't come up with more meaningful words about why I participate in the Red Ribbon Ride. I hope you will join me, as a rider, as crew or as a supporter.
I am truly grateful and lucky to be alive today.
I say that in all sincerity. When I first came out in the mid-70s, I had planned to move to San Francisco. It was the gay mecca and I was drawn there. Right or wrong, I am thoroughly convinced that had I made the move, I wouldn't be alive today. Thankfully, I’ll never really know.
As people I loved and knew through the 80s and early 90s contracted HIV and had their promising lives extinguished by AIDS, I had to stop counting when my list reached 100 and two of my closest friends died about a year apart.
Today, the disease is still in our midst. It's just not nearly as noticeable. More often, it has become a chronic condition that most can manage with medicine. In most cases, it is manageable, but it is still a heavy and costly burden to people with HIV/AIDS and the impact on their lives is profound.
We can't replace what we have lost - and what has been lost. Since the beginning of the epidemic, 36 million people have died and in 2012, just as many were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
So, you wonder why there is still a need. It is in the numbers.
In Minnesota, a number of agencies work to help prevent the spread of HIV and support people with HIV/AIDS. Eight of these agencies receive a significant amount of their support from the Red Ribbon Ride, which is entering its 14th year.
I have participated in the Red Ribbon Ride every year since its inception in 2003. My primary motivation is doing so is to never forget the people I knew who are no longer with us. I carry them with me for every mile of the 4 day - 300 mile ride.
Thank you for taking the time to read a part of my story and doing what you can to support people with HIV/AIDS. Besides donating, consider joining us as a rider or crew member for 2016. I'd love to have you join me for our traveling bubble of love for 4 days in July.
Thank you for you consideration and support - in whatever form that comes.
My Personal Web Log
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