This week, guest videographer and editor Matthew Ladensack and I are accompanying the more than 2700 riders and volunteers of the AIDS LifeCycle and collecting their stories. If you’re not familiar with ALC, it’s the world’s largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser where riders bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles over the course of 7 days. We won’t be riding bikes, but will be riding with the Press Corps, a group of reporters, photojournalists, bloggers, etc., to help document the ride.
Also, AIDS/LifeCycle is offering I’m From Driftwood readers a discount if you register for next year’s ride. The regular $85 registration is only $45 if you go to the AIDS/LifeCycle site and enter “IFD” in the code box of the registration page.
Erik Walton has had HIV for over 20 years. He’s lost over 300 friends to AIDS. And he just lost his best friend to the disease 4 years ago. Despite all this, Erik will not allow AIDS to make him live in fear.
So many people, they give up when they test positive or they think it’s the end of their life. And I have a lot of friends who go into victim mode and they just hide. I want to tell people, “You can do this. You need to have the willpower.” You just have to say, “No, you will not be the boss of me. You will not get the better of me. I’m going to do what I want to do.” So I’m dedicating this ride to [my best friend Paul] too because I know he’s with me, riding with me. I love you Paul, and I miss you a lot. And I wish you were here with me, but I know you are in some way.
Continue Reading to watch Erik’s story.