Everybody has seen those quizzes that help you understand you came from a different era. Did you ever use a rotary phone? Do you remember when you'd never heard of FM radio and the Kennedy assassination was the worst thing that had ever happened? Unfortunately, for some of us there's a new one: remember AIDS?
Maurino Albenetyh, who works at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System for the Palo Alto Institute for Research and Education (PAIRE), not only remembers, he wanted to do his part to make sure nobody forgets about AIDS by participating in the recent 550-mile AIDS/LifeCycle bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Albenetyh, 45, began training for his ride in January, although he'd known about the awareness campaign from supporting a friend's efforts in the past. This year, Albenetyh reached out to his own circle of family and friends and raised $3,350.
Albenetyh said the effort had made him aware that, "We can all forget about this devastating disease as we go about our day-to-day lives, but you just have to remind people and they can be amazingly kind and giving."
AIDS/LifeCycle is the only AIDS fundraising bicycle event in California organized by the non-profit agencies that will benefit from the money raised by participants. The goal is to provide critical services to people living with HIV and AIDS and promote research into finding ways to prevent the disease. The riders were on the road for seven days, averaging 80 miles a day over varying terrain -- flat routes along the coast, artichoke and strawberry fields, fog banks, foothills and mountains.
"The face of HIV/AIDS is not what it used to be," said Albenetyh. "Too many of us have forgotten that this is still a huge problem in the world. By dedicating six months of my life to train, fundraise, and actually complete the journey has made me a different man, and I will work harder to make a difference."