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Ride For AIDS Raises $840,000. Participants Cycle For Change.

Ride For AIDS This last weekend hundreds of people rode 200 miles in two days to Elkhorn, Wisconsin and back from Evanston in order to raise money and awareness for HIV/AIDS. Sponsored by local nonprofit Test Positive Awareness Network and many community partners, The Ride For AIDS Chicago (RFAC) has raised more money every year since it began in 2004. In this past weekend’s event, there were over 300 riders and about 80 crew members that raised over $840,000 dollars.

TPAN is a community-based organization that provides comprehensive health and wellness services to everyone impacted by HIV/AIDS. The Ride for AIDS is their biggest fundraising event of the year, but it serves as more than just a way to provide funds for needed services. RFAC brings together people who are HIV positive,  have lost loved ones to AIDS,  proud friends and allies, avid cyclists, activists, and so many others who are invested in ending the disease and eliminating the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.ClosingCeremonies

Director of Athletic Events for TPAN, Richard Cordova stated “Every year the ride gets better. We raise more money, improve the events production, and are able to give our riders and crew a better experience. The highlight of the 2014 ride was the number of HIV positive riders and crew participating as they wore orange bandannas signifying their positive status.” Every year there are more people able to come out regarding their HIV/AIDS status. They Know that they have the love and support behind them from within the RFAC family. While most of the event is full of happiness and joy, there are moments of silence at both the opening and closing ceremonies to honor those we have lost.

Traveling along the ride is the ‘Riderless Bike’. The bike without an actual rider symbolizes the people who have passed away as a result of the disease. It serves as a reminder that while there has been so much progress over the years, there is still so much work to be done because we have lost so many to the disease.

With an endless amount of training and support from the organization and previous riders, the event outdoes itself annually. They truly live out the mission by being a catalyst for change in the HIV/AIDS community. They raise vital funds for those living with or at risk for HIV while simultaneously fighting the shame and stigma associated with the disease.  #200miles

The forecast at the beginning of the week predicted that the ride was going to be a wash out. With rains and headwinds, it can make riding 10 miles feel like 20. As the riders cycled out of the opening ceremonies at Chandler Park on Saturday morning, the rain followed closely behind. Luckily, the riders were able to get a move to miss most of the downpour. By Sunday the clouds and rain parted and the sun shone brightly. Exhausted and overwhelmed with emotion,  participants made it back safe to closing ceremonies riding their bikes proudly in unison.

Congratulations on an amazing ride to all the participants, crew, volunteers and RFAC family of 2014!

 


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