Jan. 26th, 2011

thoreau: (New Thoreau)
January 26, 1853: "It is remarkable that many men will go with eagerness to Walden Pond in the winter to fish for pickerel and yet not seem to care for the landscape. Of course it cannot be merely for the pickerel they may catch; there is some adventure in it; but any love of nature which they may feel is certainly very slight and indefinite. They call it going a-fishing, and so indeed it is, though perchance, their natures know better. Now I go a-fishing and a-hunting every day, but omit the fish and the game, which are the least important part. I have learned to do without them. They were indispensable only as long as I was a boy. I am encouraged when I see a dozen villagers drawn to Walden Pond to spend a day in fishing through the ice, and suspect that I have more fellows than I knew, but I am disappointed and surprised to find that they lay so much stress on the fish which they catch or fail to catch, and on nothing else, as if there were nothing else to be caught."


Title: Ice Fishing
Flickr User photoman356
thoreau: (Dave and Bob)
It's no secret that I'm participating in AIDS Lifecycle 10 - I post about it almost daily. but - perhaps what hasn't been posted is the "Why I'm participating in ALC10."

For the past decade, AIDS/LifeCycle – and its participants - have played a crucial role in advancing the fight against HIV/AIDS. An important measure of the event’s success is the cost of fundraising, which ALC strives year after year to keep at a minimum. Members in AIDS/LifeCycle’s 10for10 Club have demonstrated in their fundraising goal that they share that commitment to keeping the costs of fundraising low. Though the minimum for riders is $3,000 , individuals who set inspiring goals of at least $10,000 help ALC ensure that a greater percentage of the funds raised via AIDS/LifeCycle go directly to the HIV/AIDS services of both agencies.

We live in an era of broken city, state and federal budgets - and in it's 30th year, it's not like AIDS is going away any time soon. The literal MILLIONS of dollars raised every year by ALC riders helps keep the doors open at both of these important agencies: The San Francisco AIDS Foundation and The Lesbian and Gay Center of Los Angeles. The money raised by ALC is more important than ever!

When you visit the websites of the two benefit organizations - you see the real wealth of programs and community interaction:

* The San Francisco AIDS Foundation: http://www.sfaf.org/
* The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center: http://www.lagaycenter.org/

Consider the goals of SFAF and you can see clearly why the ALC ride fundraiser is SO important:

San Francisco AIDS Foundation is guided by a strategic plan with three ambitious goals aimed at radically reducing new infections in San Francisco in 2015.

Goal 1: Reduce new HIV infections in San Francisco by 50%
New HIV infection rates have remained frustratingly stable for more than a decade, at about 55,000 in the U.S., 7,000 in California, and 1,000 in San Francisco. We seek to radically reduce new infections, and we can not do it alone. We must collaborate within and beyond our community, with partners in research, clinical and public health, with local, state and federal governments, and with donors, volunteers and other stakeholders. Together, we will expand HIV testing and pursue new frontiers in prevention. Leveraging scientific research and community knowledge we will devise new approaches and ensure that federal, state and local legislation supports a climate hospitable to effective HIV prevention.

Goal 2: Ensure all San Franciscans know their current HIV status
Accurate knowledge of HIV status is critical to individual and community health. Even in San Francisco, nearly one in five (18 percent) people with HIV are unaware of their status. Not knowing one’s HIV status leads to missed opportunities for HIV prevention and care. For infection rates to decrease, status awareness must increase. HIV testing and screening must become part of routine healthcare and a topic of frank, honest discussions free from stigma and judgment. We are expanding advocacy and public education about the benefits of testing, determining the feasibility of citywide HIV screening, and optimizing our own and others’ capacity to provide HIV testing.

Goal 3: Ensure access to proper care for all HIV-positive San Franciscans
The line between HIV prevention and care has blurred. Emerging scientific research tells us that proper treatment and care for HIV-positive individuals isn’t just the right thing to do, it may also be an important prevention strategy. That’s because effective HIV care can improve long-term health and wellness while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of further transmission through the use of antiretroviral treatment and behavioral change. The foundation is determined to eliminate institutional and political obstacles to access to treatment and care. As the epidemic evolves, we are evolving our targeted programs to improve the health of people with HIV and AIDS, from housing and medical referrals to group support and services that address mental health and substance use among populations most vulnerable to HIV.


Now it all comes down to the big ask. Fundraising is tough work!

Donating to ALC is very easy - you can do it with a few clicks of the mouse at

http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/robertmcdiarmid 

Why is it powerful to donate now rather than later?

You can break your donation down into ten monthly payments, making it easier to give and making significant impact.

* $1000 = $100/month for ten months
* $750 = $75/month for ten months
* $500 = $50/month for ten months
* $250 = $25/month for ten months
* $100 = $10/month for ten months

If you think about it that way - for the price of two lattes a month? you can donate $100 to AIDS Lifecycle. Thinking bigger, if your budget allows for a larger donation? you can spread it out and then write it off on your taxes at the end of the year.

Putting our own money where my mouth is...
I started off this process by donating $1000 of my own money - doing the $100/mth plan for ten months. It just becomes part of my monthly budget and I know I'm contributing to the cause - and making a real difference.

Matching Funds: Double your giving power!
My husband Dave took advantage of matching funds at eBay and turned a $500 personal donation into $1000!With the new year - many companies just 'reset' their giving limits for the year - so taking advantage of matching funds from your company - like my buddy Eric Maier did at Adobe. Matching Funds programs rock hard! He turned a $150 donation into $300!

Tax season is coming up - and perhaps you could donate a percentage of your return
I know I always like to do 'something special' with my tax returns each year. (even if that something special is put my return into my savings account for a rainy day) - but consider if you get a $1000 return - giving $100 or $200 to AIDS Lifecycle - and reinvest some of your return into the important work being done for people living with HIV and AIDS in California. (and write it off on your taxes for 2011 - Win!Win!)

In closing -

I don't often participate in fundraising efforts like ALC. On March 1st - I will observe my 18th year living with HIV. Helping young people understand HIV infection and ways to explore their sexuality safely is very powerful message that the money I'm raising helps SFAF and LAGLC deliver it every day. ALC monies help staff needle exchanges - a necessary reality on the streets of our cities.

It's difficult to comprehend sometimes, that AIDS is in it's 30th year. Folks here on Facebook range from girls I dated in high school, to friends from my days in Norfolk, Seattle, Vancouver, and Boise. Many of you were with me as we supported and took care of our brothers and sisters that we've lost along the way. As HIV care has evolved and changed over the years, it's become less "visible" in our communities.

I am just one face of HIV and AIDS in America today. I'm living strong - and working hard to stay in the best shape possible. The amazing work of SFAF and LAGLC helps our communities do the same. I want to ask you to help me reach as many people as possible with the life-changing messages that SFAF and LAGLC deliver. I am riding to help these organizations stop the increase of HIV transmission, preventing the disease before it starts. I am riding also to support those that would not receive services if it were not for these two agencies.

Even if you live outside of California - you can see the great impact of helping me reach my goal of $10,000 for the 10th AIDS Lifecycle Fundraiser.

I am riding to END AIDS - and I'm asking you to join me.

Love, Robert

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to donate - visit http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/robertmcdiarmid

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