Cycle for the Cause Raises $600K
Participants for the Cycle for the Cause: The Northeast AIDS Ride from Boston to New York City pulled in to the New York City LGBT Center last week, exhausted but happy to have raised more than $600,000 to fund the Center's HIV programs and services.
"I'm thrilled to report that The Center raised a historic amount of money for this ride, with $606,091 (that's more than $130,000 higher than last year). That number will creep up even more in the coming days while fund raising remains open," wrote the Cycle 'caboose' Jeff Adams, who is stationed at the end of the peloton. "I'm proud of my own fund raising for this year, which topped out at $4,215. That's my highest amount raised for the ride, which brings my four-year total to more than $15,500."
Riders embarked on the 275-mile ride on Sept. 20, leaving Framingham, Massachusetts and riding through several state parks before getting to the winding hills of Bigelow Hollow State Park. The second day took riders along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail through more state parks to end up in Danbury, Connecticut. On the third day, they cut through the North County and the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail for 40 miles, through the Greenway along the Hudson River, to arrive at the Center, where cheering crowds of friends, family and supporters awaited.
Many local groups participate in the Cycle for the Cause, among them large groups from the New York Eagle and Sirius OutQ Radio, who raised $17,465 (each rider is expected to raise a minimum of $3,000.) This year's event featured 102 riders and 40 crew members. Sirius' Romaine Patterson spoke at the closing ceremony, as did riders Mark Mileti and his husband, John Lichioveri. Cycle rider Brigid Berger, a Center staff member, sang "Amazing Grace" a capella during the moment of silence.
The Center will use the funds to distribute thousands of safe-sex kits, year-round oral HIV screenings and referrals to public health insurance, housing and doctors. It allows them to host Newly Diagnosed HIV Positive groups, and counseling to more than 1,800 people. It also funds education and leadership training for more than 1,000 LGBT youth and young adults.
It also pays for the Center’s Summer Camp Program, which provides a safe space for young people to have pride in their identity and envision a health future for themselves. Remaining funds are used to provide educational forums and cultural events that inform the community on the importance of HIV prevention. Center leaders implore the community to participate in this inspiring and important fundraiser.
"I’d like to ask you all to consider giving up three days -- just three days, out of 365 a year -- to help The Center in the fight against HIV and AIDS," said Center Executive Director Glennda Testone. "When you look around you today and see the lives you are impacting, it makes you realize that three days is nothing. I urge you, sign up for Cycle for the Cause 2014 today."
For more information or to register, visit http://www.cycleforthecause.org/home/