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...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Little Fall of Rain

Every so often I enjoy a little bike ride on a balmy day with the sun on my face and the wind at my back, the company of friends and rural scenery so stunning one can only slow to a coast and marvel at its majesty. Every so often, though not this weekend. Saturday was a rain or shine training day – it rained, I rode. A cold, rainy ride is no one’s idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday and yet it occurred to me while wiping a gloved hand across my dripping face that no one asks why I ride a bike on a sunny day; they ask why I ride in the rain.

Lab assistants pull weekend duty as rest stop angels
The answer is simple. AIDS is not over. Next month I’ll once again haul my bike 3,000 miles to cycle the AIDS Vaccine 200 because there in Atlanta some astounding work is being done by people committed to the reality of a world free of AIDS. Remarkable dedication oozes out of Emory University as another generation of scientists and researchers enthusiastically explore, challenge, experiment, fail, pick back up and try again because they know it’s not a matter of if, but when someone will rein in HIV and stop the scourge of AIDS. 

Dr. Harriet Robinson has an HIV vaccine inhuman trials
Research funded by your past donations to Action Cycling Atlanta’s AIDS Vaccine Ride supported the development of the world’s first AIDS vaccines now in a larger phase of human trials and a separate set of human trials currently testing another vaccine designed to teach the body to manage HIV and keep it from destroying the immune system, leading to an AIDS diagnosis. The aptly named Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center recruits volunteers nationwide who willingly participate in these human trials. 

The commitment of these and every researcher, scientist, doctor, service organization and volunteer you’ve helped support over the last 18 years of my riding in the rain is contagious. It is the inspiration behind these outrageous cycling habits that have given me an avenue for sharing an extraordinary story of declining HIV infection rates and AIDS-related deaths with hundreds of people like you, people willing to invest in this long-haul journey that will certainly lead to a day when bicycle rides are reserved for sunnier days and AIDS is history.

I humbly ask for your fully tax-deductible contribution to my efforts on the AIDS Vaccine 200 and thank you for your support of all kinds, bringing hope and progress to this, my journey.