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, a four-day 330 mile bike ride through Northern California. 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 for the third year in a row, I’ve decided to participate in the NorCAL AIDS Cycle. As a group, we’ve raised over quarter-of-a-million dollars in each of the past two years, and I think this coming year we can do even better. Grants from NCAC goes directly to service agencies right here in Northern California. Beneficiaries in 2011 included CARES, River City Food Bank, Golden Rule Services, Caring Choices, and the Sierra Foothills AIDS foundation, among others.
This year, I have started a new fund-raising team, River City Roadies, which is sponsored by the River City Food Bank, a NCAC beneficiary.
So, on this World AIDS Day, I invite you to join the team. Are you a cyclist, who’d like to spend four awesome days on your bike next May?? Go to norcalaidscycle.org and sign-up to ride. And be sure t.o join River City Roadies when you do. If cycling is not your thing, your monetary support is most welcome. Just click the link below and get that end of year tax deduction!
Thanks to everyone for your continuing support.
Click here to support NorCal AIDS Cycle 2013!