Jim Nixon - Rider # 186
This will be my 2nd year riding in the Smart Ride. On Friday, November 15th, and Saturday, November 16th, 2019 I will join hundreds of other individuals who will ride their bicycles or crew from Miami to Key West 165-miles. Our journey will be one filled with hope, filled with pride, and filled with the dream of a future free of AIDS. Each SMART Rider is expected to raise money a minimum of $1,250 to designate to local AIDS Service Organizations; I have set my own personal goal of raising $5,000. Raising funds along with awareness is equally important because I believe what we do makes a difference (and because 100% of the money you donate will go back to the community).
I’ve lost two partners to HIV/AIDS since 1988. I am not normally one to talk about how HIV/AIDS has affected me personally, but HIV/AIDS has had a heavy impact on my life. The SMART Ride is full of riders like me who have lost partners, friends and loved ones to HIV/AIDS. Awareness of HIV — especially in the LGBT community — is my primary interest.
The SMART Ride — Southern Most AIDS/HIV Ride — “was born out of a dream to make a real and significant difference in the lives of those infected, affected and at risk for HIV/AIDS,” For its 16th consecutive year, riders travel from across the United States (some from as far as Hawaii) to join in raising both funds and awareness for the epidemic that affects nearly 140,000 here in Florida and more than 1 million nationwide. The SMART Ride is unique in that it is the only AIDS bike ride of its size to give 100% of funds raised back to AIDS service organizations. The second biggest AIDS bike ride overall in the United States; the SMART Ride has raised more than $10.4 million since 2002.
The Smart Ride guarantees that every penny that I raise (with your help) will be given to AIDS Service Organizations and directed to prevention, education and direct services. Together we can make a real difference, we can change the world, and help free future generations of living with HIV while helping those already affected, infected or at risk today stay healthy.
I refer to You, my donors as “Warriors,” and for good reason. With federal budget cuts in global HIV funding, it is absolutely necessary — now more than ever — to raise funds for local services. Donors like you understand this and face the challenge head-on.
“You must know your status; we have seen increases in Pinellas County of exposure to HIV in recent years. We still have a message to get out there, that there are options. Protect yourself. Play safe. If you test negative, do PrEP so that someday we can have an end to this. In the early ages of HIV, it was very well-known as a death sentence without access to medicines and medical care that would prolong your life. Today because of advances in medicine, HIV doesn’t necessarily mean a death sentence. You’re able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, adopt a medical regimen with medication to prevent the damaging side effects of HIV.”