If you click on my name you’ll see that I predominantly write for this site about the life-changing ups and downs of the contestants on “American Idol“, the weirdest and newest indie thrillers to never hit a big screen near you, or the newest and craziest club event I’ve tried in LA. I have a ball getting my words noticed and read by an amazing set of readers that visit our site daily and always hope to find a common thinker who loves the same music I do, but, what I truly value and appreciate about Homorazzi is these occasions when I get to bolster amazing people doing some pretty unbelievable things. The cherry on this sundae is that in this case, I’m reporting on a cause insanely close to my heart and about two of the strongest and giving friends I have who are dedicating themselves so wholly and asking for nothing but our support.
HIV and AIDS are possibly the most prevalent causes and concerns amongst gay men and women and affect every person in some way throughout the world. It’s for that reason that I truly hope you don’t skip over this post for Britney’s latest track and take the time to read about what a devoted group of altruists are getting up to on the East Coast. So, just what am I talking about? Well, it’s a Bike Rally endured by more than 400 people, July 29th, 2012 that lasts for 6 DAYS over 600km’s from Toronto to Montreal. Sponsored by people like you and me, these bicycling men and women donate their raised funds to Friends for Life and end up making a tremendous difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. Today, I’m going to be focusing on two specific riders- my friends Lucas and Antonio– as they take on this Bike Rally for the second year in a row. They’ve been working like mad to prep for this feat and I for one am damn proud.
First off, let’s explain just what Friends for Life does. Friends for Life is an organization that exists throughout Canada and supports people living with HIV and AIDS (among other life threatening illnesses). I’ve been volunteering with them for going on 6 years and have absolutely loved it. My duties there allow me to meet hundreds of members, hearing their unique stories and maybe make their day a little bit nicer by listening to them, learning from and helping them access a myriad of free programs. As this cause does not just affect gay men, neither are they the only members as Friends for Life supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual humans alike: all are welcome. Focusing on this the East Coast Friends for Life Bike Rally, its sponsoring body is the PWA (People With Aids foundation in Toronto) and they work at all levels with people living with this complex disease. Offering everything from food programs to financial support to health forums and mental assistance, they truly attack this issue from all angles and offer daily aid to all its members.
Now, let’s get to my handsome friends! Lucas and Antonio (pictured above) are long-term partners that I’ve known for years. Finding each other, they not only quickly realized a passion for fitness, but for this hugely relevant cause and started their training for this rally a year ago. They blew my mind and somehow survived the 600km odyssean journey and have come back for more. In their own words they described their experience for me saying: “The physical challenge was what drew us initially, but it is the people and the cause that have brought us back.” Please take a moment to click here and see Lucas and Antonio’s blog as they chronicle their training, challenges and goals in this year’s rally. They have an array of beautiful and inspiring photos from last year to see just what this “little bike ride” entails, updates on their fundraising attempts… oh, and simultaneously you get to see a cute pair of boys in spandex, so even if monetary support isn’t your thing, that should be reason alone!
I know this year has seen its share of fundraising madness and dubious financial transparency, so please let it be known that the money raised by riders like Lucas and Antonio go directly to Friends for Life. Specifically, the money raised from this rally represents over 60% of the annual operating budge for the Toronto Persons with AIDS (PWA) Foundation. This is a cause where you can be assured that your dollars will have a direct impact and improve the lives of thousands of people living with HIV and AIDS. The Rally raised over $1.3 million last year and this year they hope to reach even higher.
The boys have been working hard to raise as much as possible for this cause and every dollar helps. They’ve reset their goal at an outstanding
$12,000 (they’ve upped it once again to continue increasing their support of this cause!) as they’ve been seeing a great amount of support from friends and family and I think with the help of Homorazzi readers looking to give back and help sponsor this ever-important cause, that they can do it! Again, here is their tumblr page, there are links at the top to allow you to donate directly to the cause and propel the boys’ goal to success. A charitable donation receipt will be provided for all donations over $20. If donating isn’t your thing, then please considering re-posting this article or the boys’ page or even the event itself through email, tumblr, twitter or facebook. Lucas and Antonio are the ones riding for 6 straight days to help those living with HIV and AIDS- so let’s do our part!