Thursday, April 30, 2009

The $5,000 question

My friend J.R. sent an email to me on Wednesday with the subject line "Congrats!"

J.R. is my Cycle Buddy in the AIDS/LifeCycle office. Even though J.R. has several hundred other ALC riders and scores of roadies to keep tabs on, he has been staying in touch with me throughout my Annus Horribilis (and no, that term is not dirty. I learned it from Queen Elizabeth.)

"I wanted to be sure to send you a congratulations on reaching your minimum," J.R. wrote. "That definitely guarantees your spot on this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle."

J.R. was referring to the $3,000 sum that all registered AIDS/LifeCycle riders agree to raise for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center or the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in order to participate in ALC 8: next month's 561-mile ride from San Francisco to L.A. I'm raising money for the HIV services of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and last week, the sum given by donors to my ALC fund hit $3,000.

"As soon as you raise money for AIDS/LifeCycle, it goes to work for the people that need it most," J.R. wrote. "On behalf of AIDS/LifeCycle, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center, and our clients, thank you."

My fund-raising for ALC 8 isn't over. The goal I established last summer was to raise five grand for the Center. As of this morning I have $1,219 to go, and 30 days to get there.

When I got sick last fall, I told myself that I'll make a decision about whether I'll ride in ALC 8 when the ride got closer but fulfill my promise to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center regardless of that decision.

In November, it seemed like I had plenty of time to figure out what was going on with me, get it treated, and then resume my training for the ride. Now, ALC 8 is only 32 days away.

My bike is still standing in the same spot in my living room where I parked it last November, the last day I rode it. I swear I'm going to keep my options open about riding but even if a miracle occurred and my tongue snapped back to normal, I'd still have to whip myself into shape so I could handle pedaling up to 107 miles a day for seven consecutive days.

I like looking at the bright side of things. But I probably have a better chance of being part of the Endeavor's crew when the space shuttle is launched in June. I'd be the astronaut drinking Tang through a G-tube.

I would still be thrilled if you visited my AIDS/LifeCycle page and checked it out. You can see a list of the donors who have pitched in to help the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center –they're the ones that J.R. should really thank instead of me– and you can make a donation yourself.

Nothing would make me happier than shutting down this blog for the first week of June so I could ride my bike from San Francisco to L.A.

Well, make that almost nothing would make me happier. What would make me happiest is seeing my ALC hit $5,000 and knowing that the Center is putting that sum to work to help people in Los Angeles with HIV/AIDS.

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