back among the living
July 17, 2006, 7:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
hi all – just a quick post – just home from the red ribbon ride and the business trip to cleveland. the ride was amazing in everyway – the riders and crew raised an astonishing $618,000+ (final count won’t be ready for a bit). for pictures from the ride – go here: red ribbon ride pictures

(fyi, photo 52 is of me – for the life of me, i can’t tell when this picture was taken – but i’m working the sound board. i think it might have been on friday night during the evening entertainment).

i volunteered to produce opening and closing ceremonies along with the entertainment in camp each night as well as producing a special evening presentation on hiv/aids. the ceremonies were exactly what i wanted – to take a very grass-routes event, and raise the bar a bit – to make the participants feel validated for what they were doing – biking 300 miles in 4 days and crewing (working their asses off) for 4 days taking care of the riders.
at opening and closing ceremonies we had an amazing slam-poet create and perform two original works that brought the participants to tears in some cases. as an event producer – the best response is an emotional response. needless to say, i was exceedingly happy at how the poet was received. i hope to post some video of the ceremonies soon.
the special presentation we did in camp on saturday night was intense to say the least. our campsite was a middle school that had an incredible auditorium with state of the art lighting and sound – i took full advantage of that fact. we created a space where the audience (riders, crew, friends & family visitors) watched a presentation by 7 of the other participants sharing their amazing, inspiring and humbling experiences with hiv/aids. the participants included:
  • derek – an hiv/aids educator for the red door clinic in mn (and a rider) – who talked about the facts around hiv/aids (brilliantly done, i might ad)
  • dr. kris – our volunteer dr on the ride – she had just returned from tanzania where she was treating hiv/aids patients – her brother-in-law had also just passed away from aids related illness the previous saturday making her story all the more impactful.
  • penny – a crew member and native american who shared her story of her own fight against breast cancer and loosing her son to aids.
  • michael – a rider who shared his story about having full blown aids and living in one of the facilities the ride sponsors
  • david – a rider who is living with hiv in northern minnesota and shared how isolating living with this disease away from a major city.
  • and mark – a rider who was diagnosed more than 10 years ago with hiv when it was a death sentence (it’s still not a walk in the park by any stretch) and shared his story
  • closing out the night was lorraine teal – the ex dir of the mn aids project who talked about the importance of being political about the cause and fighting to ensure our representatives in congress give the disease the money it deserves.
at the end of the evening, my close friend stacey walked up to me, gave me a hug and a kiss and simply said “thank you for giving me my moment” – what an incredible moment that was. if just one person walked out of that room with a new found energy in the fight against hiv/aids – then my job was done.
i struggle year after year with my involvement in the ride – why do i do this? do i still have it in me? am i the right person to do it? this ride (as does every ride) gave me the answers to those questions – i will continue to fight the fight until a cure is found. i’ve already confirmed to the director that should she want me back next year, i’d come back in a heartbeat.
needless to say i already have ideas for next year. 🙂

5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

welcome back and congratulations

Comment by Ray

Ray, how come you don’t post on my blog anymore??

Comment by cb


Comment by Six Shooter

Because you’re a tampoon wearin’ monkey funker:)


Comment by Ray

you do it because you are amazing at it
and no matter how hard it is, and no matter how little sleep you get and how long the hours are you know that you are a better person for having done it
you meet the most amazing people.

Comment by landry

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