When I first heard about the AIDS/’LifeCycle I knew I had to do it. My first year riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle10 back in 2011 was a life-changing experience. I made what seemed to be an impossible goal (raising a large sum of money AND riding 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles!) and achieved it. In fact, I kicked ass!
Finding a cure for HIV or bringing an end to AIDS might sound impossible but we DO have the power to make the impossible possible. I met so many energetic and strong people whose personal stories inspired, and continue to inspire me to pedal even harder during the ride, and after.
My name is Daniel and I am a new employee or “budtender” at the PCC dispensary. I may even have helped you select a delectable flower or two for your medicine. This year will mark my second year riding in the AIDS/Life Cycle. Last year, my premier ride in ALC 10 combined two of my greatest passions – cycling and riding for a great cause like HIV.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, I moved to the Bay area in 2005 seeking a new state of consciousness. I found it in my new neighborhood in the Berkeley-Oakland borderlands, and in work with youths as a medical case manager, youth program coordinator and HIV Test Counselor at an HIV Youth clinic in Oakland. There, I provided education, support, acceptance and compassion to youth recently diagnosed with HIV and assisted them in navigating medical systems and the sometimes tumultuous road of living with a chronic illness.
For those who may not know the AIDS/LIfeCycle is a 7 day, 545-mile long HIV/AIDS awareness and fundraising bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. This intensive ride through beautiful California delivers a life-changing experience for thousands of participants from all backgrounds and fitness levels united by a common desire to raise awareness about the fight to end HIV/AIDS. Not to mention the necessary challenge of raising funds for HIV/AIDS patient services in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas.
By integrating a Chicano movement slogan, TEAM: “¡Si SE PEDAL!” aspires to raise awareness among the Latino community and all communities about the rising number of HIV and AIDS diagnoses within Latino US population. In 2009, Latinos accounted for 20% of HIV infections while representing 16% of the United States population. People of color communities continue to represent a disproportionate percentage of HIV cases and deaths in the United States.
All in all, HIV does NOT discriminate and infects straight and gay people alike, young and old, and people of all ethnicities and classes. Every new case of HIV comes from an old case of HIV. One in five people who are HIV positive do not know their status and may continue to infect others. However, research studies indicate once a person has received an HIV diagnosis, their risk behaviors decreased. If we work to provide much needed services to HIV positive individuals, then we will make an impact on HIV transmission.
Compassion, education, testing, and access to medical care are crucial in the fight against HIV. Join us in bringing an end to AIDS. Get tested. Know your HIV status.
If you can, please make a donation today of $10, $20, $50, or more, and fuel my tanks by supporting me and TEAM: “¡Si SE PEDAL!” in achieving our fundraising goal of $10,000. All donations go directly to HIV medical care, HIV prevention and case management services, and are tax deductible. Just follow this link to my AIDS/LifeCycle donation page. It’s quick and easy!
Muchas gracias! Thank you for your support!