By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)
In the 28+ year history of the #AIDSLifeCycle, a week long cycling event from San Francisco to LA to raise money and awareness of lifesaving HIV/AIDS research, for the first time last year it had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For 2021, the event is taking on a new, Covid safe event in the form of #TogetheRide which encourages participants to fundraise and take on the cycling challenge within their own communities.
#TogetheRide has set a fundraising goal of $5 million to support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center and has called on supporters and participants to collectively bike 1.2 million miles in honor of the 1.2 million people in the US living with AIDS. The initiative is open and welcome to everybody who would like to participate. Participants are encouraged to set their own personal fundraising and mileage goals while tracking their progress in the TogetheRide app.
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation “promotes health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy, and community partnerships. SFAF envisions a future where health justice is achieved for all people living with or at risk for HIV, ultimately striving for a day when race is not a barrier to health and wellness, substance use is not stigmatized, HIV status does not determine quality of life, and HIV transmission is eliminated.”
The money raised for SFAF supports substance abuse treatment services, HIV transmission reduction programs and supports HIV+ people with housing services and other needs.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center “cares for, champions, and celebrates LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center’s nearly 800 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services, and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.”
The money raised for the Los Angeles LGBT Center supports mental health therapy programs, sexual health services including HIV/STI tests, treatment, education and counseling services, and psychosocial case management.
#TogetheRide is a great way to continue the amazing legacy of AIDS Lifecycle while adapting to the safety needs of the pandemic. In these times, exercise, social support and purpose are very important to improving our mental, physical and social health. It is $25 to sign up and get started fundraising as simple as downloading the app and getting on the bike. Learn more at www.togetheride.org
Yours truly (that is I, Dirk Smith) have also signed up for the event, all the way from Germany I will be logging miles and fundraising as well. Follow my progress and donate to my fund by clicking here!