Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stealth Ride to Turn the Tide

Anniversaries present an annual opportunity to pause on the journey forward, look back and remember where we started, placing present conditions in the context of our past.
Breakthrough Riders on Day 4, 2002
This September 10th my kickstand goes up on another cycling challenge calling attention to the 30 year global journey to end AIDS. We call it the Stealth Ride because it’s less an event than a personal challenge in the form of a bicycle ride where participants foot the bill for all costs so 100% of your donation flows directly to the front lines of HIV research, boosting progress forward. If the concept sounds familiar, chances are good you were part of the Breakthrough Ride, my 1000-mile cycling odyssey powered by donated support from Seattle to San Francisco and generating $30,000 for the UCSF AIDS Research Institute exactly 10 years ago.

Stealth Ride Puget Sound Riders
Originally, the Stealth Ride was to follow the former AIDS Research Ride route from NYC to DC but plans changed for several folks and this type of non-event made it easy for our west coast contingent to pocket the airfare, take our challenge closer to home and throw in a little elevation. On the 10th anniversary of the Breakthrough Ride, I’ll set out from Snoqualmie Ridge with fellow Puget Sound Rider and long-time cycling partner, Jon Fehrenbach, to scale 3 mountain passes over 3 days - Snoqualmie Pass (3,022 ft), Blewett Pass (4,102 ft), and Stevens Pass (4,061 ft) -  finishing up in Skykomish, WA on Wednesday, September 12.

The past decade has produced numerous breakthroughs in the fight to end AIDS, to improve and extend the quality of life for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Dr. Yuntao Wu's George Mason University lab made an important discovery that opened the possibility for an immune system to slam the door on HIV and lock it out permanently. When HIV can’t compromise the immune system, it never progresses to AIDS. Money raised in the first 3 NYCDC AIDS Research Rides (2008-2010) helped Dr. Wu secure NIH grants to file for a provisional patent and rapidly advance their research.

Today, there is still no cure for AIDS, HIV infection rates continue to rise disproportionately in diverse segments of the population and AIDS stigma has proven a formidable barrier to prevention and treatment  efforts but let’s use this anniversary to look back, see how far we’ve come and recommit to see this journey over the finish line.

Stealth Ride fundraisers coast-to-coast have set a goal to raise at least $35,000 for this groundbreaking AIDS research but the sky’s the limit and every donation is 100% tax deductible through Day2Inc. Your anniversary contribution will be gratefully accepted and securely processed on my personal online page.  Thanks for your early and generous support!