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GOAL: $3,900
RAISED: $5,000

Victor Diaz-Herman - Crew # 2098

Thank you for visiting my SMART Ride 17 page. Please know that I am so grateful you've even considered making a contribution toward my fundraising goal. The financial impact of this pandemic on us all is in no way lost on me, neither is the fact that I'm asking for your support during these trying times. 2020 has certainly been difficult for us all, and as COVID-19 has changed the world, sadly it did not affect the HIV epidemic, nor the rate in which people contract the virus across our country.

This year I'm riding 165 miles throughout Miami over the month of November, completing the last 12 miles by riding from Baby's Coffee into Key West. 

My goal is to raise $3,900  as I am turning 39 this year. However, if I exceed my goal by $1,100 (raising a total of $5,000) I will cut my hair and donate it to a charity that makes wigs for children in need.

This year I am participating in my 4th ride, despite it being a reimagined event due to the pandemic, because COVID-19 didn't stop the rate of new HIV infections throughout the country and it certainly didn't keep it from continuing to affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throughout our country. In fact, this pandemic disproportionately threatened and affected the lives of people whose immune systems were compromised; it made accessing medications, medical care, resources, and peer support more difficult.

For those of us providing life changing and saving programs and services for people living with or affected by HIV, it is impacting the funding we require to continue doing so, it poses new challenges as we continue trying to reach people in need, who are highest risk for infection or currently living with HIV, and it makes providing essential services like holistic therapy a much more challenging endeavor. 

And as the world pivoted due to the  impact of this pandemic, so did the agencies who have been working to serve our people living with or affected by HIV. In a world of social distancing and quarantines, we have had to adapt the way we operate. And as funding slowed down, expenses didn't. Agencies now have increased costs such as additional cleaning and sanitation services, virtual platforms, personal protection equipment for staff and clients, and space safety modification expenses to name a few. Additionally, many of these agencies have also increased budget line items to be able to provide emergency assistance to people of all ages impacted by the pandemic. 

As the C.E.O. of Pridelines, a beneficiary of The SMART Ride, I have personally seen the impact of this pandemic on the people we serve and I have felt it on our ability to continue providing services. This year we need The SMART Ride's support more than ever! The ride provides crucial gap funding that allows us to serve our clients living with or affected by HIV in amazing ways. But it also allows us to provide services for LGBTQ youth and young adults who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and who are at highest risk of infection. And I know that this is the case for all the beneficiary agencies of The SMART Ride.

For these reasons I am riding 165 in 2020. For these reasons I am so grateful to anyone who contributes to my fundraising goals. And for these reasons I am committed to ensuring that every penny continues to be used to help those who are most disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thank you for your support!

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My Heroes

Scott Gray
Looking forward to your haircut and your donation of those locks!

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