The Human Cause

Raising awareness of HIV and AIDS one mile at a time.

$76,000 of Courage and Determination

This past Saturday, 23 riders came out for Team San Diego‘s training ride, one of our last few rides before we head to San Francisco to begin our journey on AIDS/LifeCycle 11. It was a gray morning, though not as chilly as it had been in weeks past, and the forecast called for sun, so we were all looking forward to a beautiful, though long day on the road. For some, the 80 miles that was carefully laid out on the route sheet represented their longest ride ever. We’ve been slowly building mileage so physically, we are prepared, but let’s face it: 80 miles is still 80 miles.

After months of training and fundraising, some of us have hit that wall of burnout. At this point, it seems all we do is go to work, train, eat, sleep, ask everyone we know to support our efforts, and get up the next day to do it all over again. I can speak only for myself, but the house is a mess, the weeds have come to visit our yard en masse, all the projects we have started around the house have been on hold for months, and friends and family – well let’s just say I’m glad they love me because they don’t see much of me these days. Physically and mentally, we are all exhausted.

It is this exhaustion, this need for a boost as we scratch and claw for the proverbial finish line, that forces me to return to WHY we are all doing this. Why did we each say “yes” to this challenge? Why do our donors say “yes” when we ask for their support? Why do our bosses grant us the time off when for some of us, June is the busiest time of year? We do it to save lives, to bring an end to the silence, to find a cure, to prevent new infections, to give hope and quality of life to those living with HIV and AIDS, to end this pandemic. On the hardest of days, during the loneliest of miles in the saddle, when I haven’t slept well or don’t feel my best as was the case this past week, this is what keeps me going. Being surrounded by a community of people who care, who have the courage to take on this challenge and find the determination to continue each day brings me strength and resolve and reminds me why I said “yes” once again this year. We are making a difference.

As our riders began arriving on Saturday morning, I checked in with each of them to see where they were with their fundraising. The minimum to participate is $3000 and almost everyone had already reached their minimum or was within a few hundred dollars. Of the 23 riders who showed, 21 of us are participating in the ride this year, and to date, we have raised $76,000. Yes – $76,000. And that’s not all of our team. And we’re still not done.

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Clearly, she knew a thing or two about courage and determination and the power of “yes” – and this selfless, loving community I have come to know as family. Say “yes” my friends. Yes.

Update 5/16/12: Team San Diego has now registered 35 riders and roadies who have raised a total of $122,484.54 in the fight to end HIV and AIDS. With 18 days before the ride, we’ve set our team goal at $150,000. Please help us reach our team goal and our personal goal of $6000 by making a donation at our Team ReaganHarlow page. There is power in numbers!

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4 thoughts on “$76,000 of Courage and Determination

  1. ❤ Love you, love this. What an amazing team we have here in San Diego. What an amazing community we have become a part of in ALC. Thank you for putting my feelings into words. So proud of you big sis. Can't wait to ride with you on ALC. We're ready. xoxo

  2. Oh, my lil’ sis – thank you for having the courage to say “yes” to the ride and opening a whole new world for us and our friendship. And thanks for the honest, heartfelt nudges this past season when my doubts were pushing me towards “no” and you helped me focus on WHY we do this. I couldn’t have done this without you, your love and your leadership! XoX

  3. patti1harlow on said:

    You do have an amazing team; I didn’t realize there were so many of you. I’m glad “both” of my daughters are riding this year for ALC-11. I’m proud of you and I love you – both!

  4. Fiercely on said:

    My partner died of AIDS in 2001 after a 6.5-year battle. The 7 years we were together grew increasingly difficult, especially near the end – and if it weren’t for the AIDS charities dedicated to helping those who have or live with HIV, we would not have received in-home support, meal delivery or the simple companionship that brightened his lonely days and relieved some of the stress of our daily lives (for me too – as I worked full-time, took care of him full-time in the evenings, did all the household chores, and picked up grad school full-time so I could have something for ). Every generous soul who participates in fundraising and awareness events makes a huge difference in the lives of those who battle daily with this incurable, debilitating and socially ostracizing illness. In your darkest hour, remember those who walked – and who still walk – the path of HIV/AIDS, especially those who travel(ed) alone… and know that you are accompanying them through the darkest moments of their own journey even if when you are not walking directly at their side…

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