March 3, 2005
I know a woman who’s going to do something amazing. Her name is Shelly, and I know she’s going to do it because she’s done it once before–she rode her bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles last June as part of the AIDS/LifeCycle. That’s 585 miles over seven days. (Yahoo! Maps will tell you it’s 380.5 miles, but that’s if you take I-5, and I really don’t think that would be a good place to ride a bicycle.) I can only imagine. I did ten minutes on the stationary bike a few nights ago; the odometer moved about a mile and I was plenty tired of pedaling when I was done.
To participate, riders have to come up with at least $2500 in donations, but Shelly set a goal last year to raise $3700. That seemed pretty lofty to me, especially since she’d never done the ride before. Sure, she’d had a decade of experience volunteering for HIV/AIDS organizations, including answering hotline calls, but this was different. I shouldn’t have doubted; she blew her goal away, raising over $9000 to fight HIV and AIDS. This year, she’s set her sights on doubling that. Her goal is $18,689, and she’d like to get donations from every state. The money goes to the AIDS Foundation in San Francisco; the work they do benefits people across the country. If you’d like to help, you can donate online to Shelly’s effort here. You can read her training diary there and also check the map to see if your state is represented. (Michigan is going to be colored in any minute now, because I sent in my donation.) If you’d rather mail a donation, just e-mail me your address and I’ll send you a form.
“But Karen”, you say, “supporting programs to fight HIV/AIDS is all well and good, but what’s in it for me?” Provided you fill in a valid e-mail address when you make your donation, what’s in it for you are updates which will flatter you for being so generous and amuse and amaze you with stories of Shelly’s training and riding. Last year there were wacky costumes (like the one you can see here), bike throwing, the Brady Bunch, and all sorts of other great and touching stuff. I can’t wait to see what happens this year (though I do hope the new bike doesn’t get tossed).
I know not everyone has the resources to be able to donate to something like this even if it is a cause you support. I hope some of you reading this who do will help Shelly meet her goal. I believe what she’s doing is important, and it’s sure easier to click a button and fill in a few fields than to ride a bike 585 miles in seven days. I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything like that, ever. I’d be happy if I could just turn some of the inspiration Shelly provides into getting my own fat ass out of the chair a little more often.