Many people think HIV is not that big of a deal anymore. You just take a pill or two a day and you’ll be fine. This can be true for the most part if all the stars align, you are diagnosed early and you have access and adherence to treatment. However, the CDC estimates that about 15,000 people a year in the U.S. still die of AIDS every year. Many are diagnosed in later stages of AIDS or are part of the under-served, underprivileged communities. That is the real reason I am doing the Braking AIDS® Ride. The three-day, 300 miles ride benefits Housing Works whose mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy and the provision of lifesaving services.
I have been HIV positive for 25 years, since I was 20, so basically my entire adult life. Statistically I should be dead. I sat by my partner’s bedside as he died from AIDS in 1996. I’ve been to more memorial services than I can count. Yet I survived virtually physically unscathed. For this reason I feel compelled and even obligated to give back to those who are not so lucky. Can you imagine trying to survive in New York city without secure housing and trying to deal with a life threatening illness on top of that?
I am not a cyclist. I am not an experienced fundraiser. But I have passion, dedication and tenacity. Because of lifesaving organizations like Housing Works I also have my health. In the early ’90s I depended on non-profit organizations for medication and help with the basics when I had no money at all. Now it’s my time to repay what was given to me so generously. I only committed to the ride seven weeks ago and pledged to raise $50,000 dollars. I’m 70 percent to my goal with two days left to fundraise. I hope you can help me reach my goal. Every dollar counts and literally changes someone’s life, so you can donate here.
As part of my fundraising campaign I have incorporated two fun incentives. The first is a raffle, which ends tomorrow. If you donate $100 dollars or more, you will be entered into a raffle to win the red Martone bike in the photo worth $1,500 dollars. If you donate $200 dollars you get two entries and so on. Right now you have about a one in 120 chance of winning the bike.
The second incentive is if you donate $250 dollars or more I will tag your name, website or social media handle on my chest and post a nearly naked selfie on all my social media platforms and thank you personally for your generous donation. That will reach 107,000 followers on Twitter, over 250,000 combined followers on Facebook and 20,000 followers on Instagram. For $1000 or more I’ll write it on my ass.
I challenge you to the “no bucket challenge,” where you just donate to charity because it helps others and it feels good and because you are one of the lucky ones. I would be honored to have your support.
I am also part of an amazing team called #TheMackPack and we have a few members who have not met their $3,500 dollar minimum. You can see our kick ass team roster here. They would love your help.