It just doesn’t seem possible that I started my AIDS/LifeCycle journey 6 years ago. I started as a Roadie then went to Cyclist and now I’m back as a Bike Parking Roadie!
I was participating at my company sponsored charity events but they were lacking something. I was like many other people that didn’t realize the HIV/AIDS is still an issue. So when a friend joined the ride and started talking about the issues and the work being done I took a leap of faith and joined as a Roadie. This event screamed to me that every person involved is important and makes a difference.
You have already done the hard part which is taking that leap to participate. As a Roadie you are never alone. You are surrounded by Staff, Roadies and Cyclists to help. It is the hardest week of your life BUT it is truly the most rewarding week of your life. That is why you will want to come back year after year. Your being there makes the event possible.
My emotional pearl of wisdom would be to open yourself up to being present on the Ride. Our daily lives do not prepare us for being with 3000 people who are there giving of themselves to help others. Give hugs and take them when you need them. Emotions are on the surface for everyone.
My pearls of being prepared are to start a walking program to just get your body used to walking more. As the week is physically oriented I suggest a good air mattress and pillow so that you can sleep well. Pack less than 45 lbs as you really don’t need much other than the basics. The AIDS/LifeCycle camp store is there when needed.
I don’t remember the rider that said this but I referred to it before. He said to me, “Pam this is the hardest vacation you will ever take but it’s also the most rewarding. That is why I do it every year!”
I choose to fundraise because the purpose of this wonderful event is to raise money to help people. it takes money to make AIDS/LifeCycle event a reality. I want to try and cover the costs of my being present on the ride and then go even further to help provide for services as well. I am an introvert by nature so I know how hard it is to ask for donations. As a woman it’s even harder as we are the givers not takers by nature. Understand that as a fundraiser you are not asking for anything for yourself. By asking you are giving others the opportunity to give. So by being a fundraiser you are a giver. When I wrapped my head around this I took that leap of faith to break through my many barriers and comfort zones to start asking and spreading awareness.
There are so many memories but the most impactful were from this last June’s Ride. There was a cyclist that was ending his day and another cyclist was with him. You could tell that he was having deep emotions coursing through him. I walked up to him and asked him if I could escort his bike. He gave me his bike and the three of us walked to the back of bike parking. I put his bike on the rack and I placed a token in his hand to thank him for being on the Ride and for being a Caring Loving Soul. He melted into me. We hugged and cried for many minutes. His breathing calmed he smiled and we parted.
Overall My journey for AIDS/LifeCycle is constantly changing. Being a Roadie and a Cyclist. Being apart of a team to going solo to now starting a fundraising team. The common thread has always been to help people and to help others with their fundraising. If you want a Home for AIDS/LifeCycle feel free to join AIDS/LifeCycle Team Caring Loving Souls or our FB group. We are here to help everyone that takes that wonderful leap to be of service to others.