Getting to (Day) Zero!

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We’re counting down to AIDS/LifeCycle 2019’s Day Zero—that’s the day before thousands of Cyclists and volunteer Roadies embark on their seven-day, 545-mile mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles!

For 19 days, we are highlighting 19 amazing Cyclists and volunteer Roadies in commemoration of the ’19 ride to tell us “Why I Ride.”

Show your support for them by donating—just click on their names!


Day Zero: YOU!
Everywhere, Earth

Coney, our Safety mascot, is helping us to celebrate Day Zero—the day when thousands of cyclists and roadies go through Safety Orientation, receive their tent assignments, and make final adjustments to their bikes! Tomorrow morning, June 2, we’re riding out of Cow Palace to begin our 7-day, 545-mile journey to Los Angeles. Thanks for your support! We’ll see you at the finish line at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles on Saturday, June 8. Follow the ride all week @aidslifecycle and, as Coney would say: “Ride safe. Be safe.”

Day 1: Gus Kenworthy
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY

“I just wanted to be able to feel like I was really making a difference. I’m proud of how much money I have raised so far but that is only part of what I wanted to do. The other part was bringing visibility to the cause. By talking about the disease, posting about it, writing about it, we all help destigmatize it. Proper education and open communication are our best chance of curbing the rate of new infections and encouraging people to get tested, know their status, and utilize safe sex practices.”

Day 1: Art Desuyo
San Francisco, CA

“I ride and volunteer because HIV and AIDS are not over. I want the stigma attached to the disease to be gone. Shortly after I decided to ride in 2014, I learned that my cousin benefits directly from the organization’s resources, which includes housing, medical services, and other day-to-day needs—I had no idea. To this day, my cousin living with HIV does not want anyone to know. How many people still feel the stigma? We ride for those who can’t; for those who live; for those who give; and, most of all, for those who can’t live if we don’t give. We ride so that, someday, we won’t have to.”

Day 3: Susie Cunanan
San Jose, CA

“I want to represent my police department as a supportive agency that gives back to the community it serves. I’m also riding for my Training Ride Leader who recently passed away unexpectedly. His partner was instrumental in teaching me how to ride a road bike. I ride for both of them because, through this event, I have met a selfless, loving community of people who really make a difference in the lives of others. I promise to pass on his kindness and enthusiasm. He was a true inspiration.”

Day 4: Cory Carrasco
Los Angeles, CA

“I knew I could do more for my community by committing to something bigger than myself, and AIDS/LifeCycle gave me the push to begin working in non-profit events for an LGBTQ+ organization. I’m riding for more than just fighting HIV and AIDS. I’m riding for our community that faces so much discrimination across the country. I’m riding for the youth who are kicked out of their home for identifying as LGBTQ+. I’m riding to honor those who came before us and fought for everything we have now.”

Day 5: Bijan Khodavandi
Los Angeles, CA

“Having devoted countless hours to this ride, I’ve managed to create a chain reaction with my social circle. Some of my friends are new volunteers at organizations or have donated more money to causes this year than any other year in their lives. The beauty of AIDS/LifeCycle is we not only improve the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS, but every rider and volunteer also sets immensely positive examples for their communities—and this impact is immeasurable.”

Day 6: Babak Kheshti
Los Angeles, CA

“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 renal cell chromophobe carcinoma, a very rare form of non-aggressive kidney cancer that grows very slow and rarely metastasizes. One of the greatest lessons that cancer gave me: without darkness, there is no light. As a gay man, my community has been ravaged by the darkness of HIV and AIDS, but AIDS/LifeCycle is a beacon of light. It’s a way to celebrate the lives of those lost, to support those who are fighting it now, and to pedal closer to a cure.”

Day 7: Valerie Nehus
Naples, FL

“In the early 1980s, I was a Registered Respiratory Therapist when the AIDS epidemic began. This is my time to give back and show everyone the compassion that we had—and still have. Together, we can beat this! I recently lost my husband of 20 years to pancreatic cancer—he fought for four years! The progress we have made in the fight against HIV and AIDS had led to advancements in treating various types of cancer, and I look forward to the day when all such diseases no longer exist.”

Day 8: David Thuillier
Oakland, CA

“My friends told me about AIDS/LifeCycle after finding out how much I cycle every day. I’ve discovered that doing service for others is one of the best things you can do in life. Having grown up in Oakland and San Francisco, I’ve known lots of people who have been affected by HIV and AIDS—it has affected people in all walks of life.”

Day 9: Conor Kavanagh
San Francisco, CA

“A friend told me he was living with HIV. He was incredibly nervous, shaking as he said the words. He looked away as soon as he said it, fearful of how I might react. Those brief moments of anguish—and fear—at how even a close friend might react to something taught me that stigma weighs heavily. To feel separate, to feel alone in a group of peers, and to feel like no one will understand is something all queer people have felt. But to feel like you have to come out of yet another closet, and within your own community, really made me think. I’m doing the ride to help demolish that closet and honor those who have died attempting to do the same thing.”

Day 10: Logan Kidney
Sherman Oaks, CA

“I recently lost 30 pounds, and I’m finding myself through my own fitness journey. My purpose was getting in the best shape I can, but I had to do it for a cause greater than myself. That’s when I found out about AIDS/LifeCycle. Being able to push myself harder than I ever have—mentally and physically—while saving lives seems like the best possible thing I can do with my life right now!”

Day 11: Jeffrey Wong
San Francisco, CA

Through my HIV prevention research at the University of California – San Francisco. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of HIV’s intersection with racism, queerphobia, and income inequality. Stigma keeps individuals from seeking care, but their resilience to keep laughing, loving, and hoping inspires me to ride.

Day 12: Ben Toubia
Los Angeles, CA

“When I was younger, I discovered the Los Angeles LGBT Center at a time when I could not afford medical care. The treatments and services I received at the Center were crucial to my health at the time, and now, it’s time for me to give back. The Center’s work is important to everyone.”

Day 13: Matthew Coppens
Madison, WI

“I ride to honor my friend who died of AIDS-related complications and to ensure that others who are living with HIV can live a better life than the day before. By raising funds, I’m helping those who are on the front lines of ending AIDS. I’m not a doctor nor a scientist. I don’t work in a clinic nor am I a therapist. I am, however, tired of watching my friends suffer and die from something that is preventable.”

Day 14: Andrea Vazquez
Sacramento, CA

“I volunteer as a Roadie because I feel great joy serving others—and my team The Bearded Ladies has become a second family to me. AIDS/LifeCycle is a weeklong visual representation of people’s courage, strength, perseverance, and determination to reduce stigma associated with HIV and to end AIDS. I will continue participating until we have a cure or affordable access to testing, prevention, education, and care for all.”

Day 15: James Diaz
Pacoima, California

“When I came out 11 years ago as someone living with HIV, there was so much stigma attached my status. However, in the last several years, more people—especially gay men—are learning about PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and the fact that Undetectable = Untransmittable. I ride because the money we raise allows the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation to provide vital services—and to continue educating others about the disease.”

Day 16: Cody Enicke
San Francisco, CA

“As someone living with HIV, I ride because I want to help fight the stigma associated with it. When I tested positive, I realized I had my own judgments about HIV. We all have internal stigmas as well as external stigmas received from other people. Let’s be strong and loving within ourselves so that we can be stronger and more loving for others.”

Day 17: Daniel Hill
Tamworth, Staffordshire, United Kingdom

“Here, in England, we don’t have anything like AIDS/LifeCycle which is a shame because it’s crucial that people from all across the world potentially make a massive difference in people’s lives and in the fight against HIV and AIDS. I’ve been preparing for the ride for just under a year, and I can’t wait to get out on the route!”

veronica-chavira

Day 18: Veronica Chavira
Santa Monica, CA

“As a high school student, I was deeply impacted when the AIDS quilt came to our school for display. I knew I had to make change. I began volunteering for various HIV and AIDS organizations in my hometown, which included distributing food to people and families impacted by the disease. I never thought I would get back on a bike since my college days, but I felt like the Universe was giving me a sign to get back on the bike for the best cause of my life!”

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