This Sunday, more than 2,200 cyclists and hundreds of staff set out from the Cow Palace in San Francisco on a 545-mile, seven-day ride to Los Angeles. But they’d already put in so much important work even before the first pedal stroke. The event, which helps fund HIV/AIDS programs at the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, raised $16.6 million, according to a release from the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The world’s single largest HIV fundraiser, Lifecycle continued to move the needle forward, raising more money than ever in a year in which Donald Trump fired the entire AIDS council. The event has raised more than $251 million for people with HIV/AIDS since it launched in 2002.
“In the seven days it takes the riders to reach Los Angeles, more than 700 people in the United States will contract HIV. One in seven people living with HIV nationwide is not aware of their status,” according to the release.
“Our tireless riders and roadies have once again risen to the occasion, raising millions of dollars to make a difference in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Thanks to their hard work and the generosity of their donors, we will continue to be able to provide free or low-cost HIV testing and medical services—caring for those most in need and reducing the incidence of HIV infection.”
The money raised goes to help provide free HIV/AIDS medical care, testing, and prevention services and to raise awareness to end the stigma surrounding HIV, according to the AIDS Lifecycle.org.
“The enduring commitment of the AIDS/LifeCycle community demonstrates the tenacity we need to end the HIV epidemic for all communities,” said San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Joe Hollendoner. “Because of awareness and funds raised by AIDS/LifeCycle participants, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is able to provide 25,000 clients with services that prevent new infections and promote the health of those living with HIV, all free of charge.”
AIDS Lifecycle participants will hit the new downtown Los Angeles finish line and celebratory festival June 9, during the city's Pride weekend.