About twenty years ago, a man by the name of Ken, showed up at a choir rehearsal I was conducting, and asked to join the Cathedral Choir. He’d had experience singing in other choirs, including at St Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego. He also thought that it was important for me to know that he was HIV+. I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by this… I’d never actually met someone with it before. But his positive energy and warmth took the day, and he soon became a good friend.
Ken was the primary impetus for my decision to participate in the 2011 NorCal AIDS Cycle. His courage, grace, and positive attitude, combined with the excellent care he received, prolonged his life longer than anyone expected. Ken finally succumbed to the disease, just two weeks prior to the ride.
The truth is, that funding for AIDS services, education, and medical care is significantly less than it was ten years ago. And along with this drop in funding, the number of new infections is on the rise, especially among young gay men, and women of color. Now, more than ever, additional funding is needed to reverse the trend. Education is certainly a big key to stemming this tide of new infections, and Ken was very big on education. He help to start the Interfaith AIDS Network in Northern California, and spent countless hours educating people in faith communities about the disease.
So once again, I’ve decided to participate in the NorCAL AIDS Cycle for 2012. As a group, we raised a quarter-of-a-million dollars in 2011, and I think this coming year we can do even better. This money goes directly to service agencies right here in Northern California. Beneficiaries in 2011 included CARES. Golden Rule Services, Caring Choices, and the Sierra Foothills AIDS foundation, among others.
I invite you, on this World AIDS Day, to support NorCal AIDS Cycle for 2012. Click the link below to contribute, and together, we can fight this pandemic, and defeat it once and for all!!