Wow! These last few weeks, I’ve been a little spellbound thinking of exactly what I would pen for this journal entry.
You see — without any reservations, because I feel so passionately about Lone Star Ride — I’m putting my heart and soul out there for all to see, making myself completely vulnerable.
It’s one thing when it’s family and friends. They appreciate your quirkiness. It’s something completely different when it’s to strangers.
In 2004, I had a friend ask if I’d like to crew for the Lone Star Ride. I’d been feeling lost in my own life and took the proposition as a golden opportunity. I knew it’d be something worthwhile and at the very least, it would be giving back to my community.
As corny as it sounds, it’s the truth.
I went to the crew training/orientation meetings. Nothing could or would ever have prepared me for what I was about to go through on the weekend of the ride.
It wasn’t easy. We’d go to bed after everything was cleaned up only to get back up the following morning "at the crack of stupid." As Sunday wound down to closing ceremonies, I counted on one hand the total number of hours I’d slept.
I was tired and worn as closing ceremonies began; however, I began to see and feel the enthusiasm, passion and determination rise in me again.
I was so proud to have taken part in something so vital to the community. We were all there for the same reason — to give HIV/AIDS the good ol’ Texas-sized boot!
I walked away hooked on the ride. It was a feeling of pride that I hadn’t felt in years.
After the 2004 ride, life threw me a few curve balls and I wasn’t able to participate again until 2007. But I continued to praise the ride and everyone associated with it.
In 2007 when another friend, who is also my training partner, said we should do the ride, I jumped at the chance, although this time, I ended up registering to ride not crew.
OMG! I didn’t even own a bike at the time. I borrowed a bike from a friend, but after a couple training and local registered rides, I finally bought my very first bike and rode.
At the end of the 2007 ride, I recycled for 2008 and decided I wanted to take a more active role in the ride. I applied to be on the Advisory Board Committee and have remained committed to ride and serving ever since. My rider number, #105, will forever be my LSRFA number.
I’m so proud to be part of this ride. The friendships I’ve made along the way and the passion everyone has are what continue to drive each and every one of us to never give up. There are so many worthy causes out there; however, I could not fathom losing someone I know and love to this horrific disease.
I hope you will join me and others on this journey. Let us never falter or stumble in finding the cure for HIV/AIDS, in continuing education for prevention, and last but not least, voicing our concerns to our local political leaders for better funding.
I and all those associated with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS appreciate your continuing support. We look forward to seeing you at the ride.
Check us out at LoneStarRide.org. This is truly a life altering experience. Join us in this journey.
The Lone Star Ride Journal will appear weekly in Dallas Voice through Sept. 25, the Friday preceding the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sept. 26-27.
For more information on Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, or to donate to Team Dallas Voice, a Team Dallas Voice member or any other rider or team, go online to LoneStarRide.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 24, 2009.