One of my goals this year is to do something charitable. I don’t always toot my own charitable horn. I prefer to just to do it and move on. Everyone has their own way of handling how they give back. I am a huge fan of giving, whether it’s to my immediate community, or the world in general. Giving back just makes me feel good inside. So in that vein, giving back can be a very personal needs-fulfillment for many folks. It feeds my soul.
For three years in a row, my husband and I, along with many of our closest friends, participated in the Pallotta Teamworks Aids Rides. It was one of the most emotional and life affirming charitable activities I have ever done. I haven’t spoken much about these events in the past, except when we were fundraising, but if you ever have the opportunity to do something of this magnitude, DO IT!
At the beginning of the ride, coming out of the gates first every morning, were our riders with HIV. They rode first as a reminder of why we were there and what we wanted to represent and send forth into the world as a message that this was something we had the power to change. With orange bicycle flags waving in the breeze, they rode hard every day. It was life moving forward and bringing all of us along making a strong and permanent push for a brighter future.
My husband did the Washington, DC Aids Ride for three years. He was a Rider and I helped with fund raising and worked the Medical Taxi one year. At the end of the day my husband’s spandex had rivulets of dried salt, showing how hard he rode. Even though he had pumped over 100 miles on his bike that day, I’d find him and his buddy Jim Cosca playing Frisbee with the other riders, or cheering riders home as they rode into camp.
My work wasn’t done until the last person fell asleep in their tents, safe and healthy for another day on the road. My responsibility was to transport some of the severely dehydrated, or injured riders to the Emergency Room. Some evenings this was a daunting task.
The last year we gathered a team of friends to ride and raised over $15,000 for the cause. It was one of the highlights of my life and one of the most gratifying experiences I have ever had. If the Pallotta Team put together another ride like these rides, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. They were an amazing organization. You can see their entire story here Pallotta Teamworks They raised over $305 million dollars for charity. Outstanding!!
The Washington, DC Aids Ride was over 300 miles, from Raleigh, NC to Washington, DC…in three days!!! That’s a century (100 miles) a day for those riders. Along the way there were fun pitstops manned by volunteers with water, electrolytes, clean portable potties and lots of good food and merriment.
It wasn’t about being the fastest. It wasn’t about racing. It was about meeting new people, making lasting friendships and most of all it was about love. Just good old fashioned L O V E.
What dreams can you make come true this year? How much can you give back? How can you help?