Troy Valls - Rider # 507
i do it because i can;
only, this year i nearly didn't.
going into my 8th ride, not sure what i was thinking entertaining the idea i wouldn't ride this year. we've all felt the heavy of the past couple years, and i didn't feel ready. but then, just a couple weeks back, i was sent a message from the universe reminding me of the pledge i made in 2013 when i embarked on my first ride. my HIV positive status made someone feel nervous around me — a quick reminder that there is still plenty work to be done.
i reaffirm that i will support this cause until there's no longer need to. while we're in a much better place with treatment for folks like me living with HIV, preventative measures like PrEP and a slightly broader awareness that UNDETECTABLE EQUALS UNTRANSMITTABLE (U=U) — in some ways, how better off we are these days has also led to a bit of apathy around the subject. "out of sight, out of mind, not my problem," kind of mentality. until it is.
on friday, 11.19, again i'll be joining hundreds of riders and crew on our annual 165-mile journey from miami to key west. this year will be different for me. i'll be hitting the road independent of any team. but, while i might be flying solo this year, i couldn't possibly feel further from alone. these past two years in particular have revealed how blessed i am with an incredible community of family and friends surrounding me. i'll do the hard work of riding for all of us, because i know you'll show up to support with as much as you can — and you are among the greatest of hearts and o mightiest of humans.
across my past rides i've raised $34,767.
i know i'll surpass the $1,250 minimum to ride.
but my true goal is to hit a total of $40,000 for all 8 rides, which means this year i trust we can raise over the $5,233 needed to get there. even better, we shoot up into the top 10 fundraisers this year!
every penny goes back to the AIDS service organizations throughout the state of florida the SMART Ride supports; the ones on the ground providing prevention, education and direct services.
i'm dong it to see a world free from HIV and AIDS.
you with me?