Last weekend I committed to biking 660 kilometres in 6 days and raising at least $2200.00 to support HIV/AIDS awareness through the Friends for Life Bike Rally. The rally, put on by the PWA (People With AIDS) organization, runs July 25th – 30th and rides from Toronto, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec. Approximately 400 riders participate annually with hundreds of other volunteers and non-riding fundraisers who last year raised about 1.2 million dollars to help support the various services, programs and events PWA provides.
People With AIDS is an organization that exists to promote the health and well-being of all people living with HIV/AIDS by providing accessible, direct and practical support services. They are the largest direct service provider for people living with HIV/AIDS in Canada and have a long list of very impressive achievements.
In 2008/2009, the PWA provided 56,790 specific services to their members through a large and diverse list of services that include:
- Food Programs
- Health Promotion Programs
- Income Support Programs
- Treatment Programs
- Speakers Bureau (public education about living with HIV/AIDS myths, stigma and promoting HIV prevention)
The bike ride is open to people of all backgrounds, whether skilled cyclists or not, (as long as you pass certain milestones to make sure you’re not going to fall over half way through the ride) with ages ranging from 16 to 70. In its twelfth year, the Bike Rally is one of the most well-organized, safe and inclusive events in Canada.
It’s obvious that the organization does a great deal of good in the community- both for those living with HIV/AIDS and those that aren’t through prevention education, and I’m extremely excited to be participating in this huge event.
I learned about the event through my good friend Brennon, who is also participating in the Rally. At first when he mentioned it I thought, “Are you CRAZY?! I’m not biking from Toronto to Montreal”… largely due to the fact that it takes every ounce of gusto I can muster to get my ass to the gym for even an hour sometimes. I quickly realized, however, that this was the perfect opportunity for me to get involved in an amazing event while also providing me with an achievable short-term personal goal.
Obviously I’m going to need to plan some stuff out, so I’ve laid out three basic steps for myself:
Step 1: Buy a bike! (sort of essential for a bike ride really…) Brennon and I are going out shopping next week!
Step 2: Start fundraising! If you’re interested in sponsoring a great cause (and me!) even $5.00 helps! You can easily donate online by clicking here (and I’ll love each and every one of you for it!)
Step 3: Work on my cardio! This is going to be a big one for me because I’m the king of finding excuses about why I need to get home from the gym. I’m switching up my workout routine as well to more of a full-body workout each session in order to focus more on endurance rather than putting on muscle.
I’ll update monthly on my progress. Wish me luck! (and sponsor me… it’ll make you feel good, I promise!)