By Katt Clark
I started volunteering at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in 2011. I started out slow, as I had some recent major surgery, however once you’ve volunteered, you’re kinda hooked. I soon was asked to be a team leader, which I gladly accepted. The people that I have had the honor to work with, learn their stories, become friends with, develop a lifelong bond with was forged with a common goal and purpose: to maintain the Grove as a living memorial for all of those still suffering and for those that are suffering because they were left behind to mourn.
I noticed every year when we had a recognition for World AIDS Day all these cyclists showing up and I didn’t have any idea who they were or why they came to the event. I asked one of my fellow volunteers and they said “those are the AIDS/LifeCyclists”. I had no idea what the ride was or what it all entailed
After giving up my car, I started cycling in 2013, to and from work, to the store and just riding because I love it so much. Nothing seems so serious when you are silently riding along, in nature, lost in your own little world on wheels.
I turn 50 this year, which is a pretty big birthday. At first I wanted to do something like an eco-vacation, like escorting baby sea turtles to the ocean after hatching in Costa Rica, or helping out in a third world country, building homes, and assisting locals like in Haiti.
Then I realized, what better way to celebrate an epic birthday, than to go on an epic ride? The whole of 2015, I told everyone that would listen (and to some that didn’t) that the AIDS/LifeCycle was going to be how I celebrated my big milestone birthday. Volunteering my time and energy for HIV/AIDS organizations would be my gift to those that need it the most, for those that don’t get to celebrate their birthdays anymore and hopefully to raise enough money so that there aren’t any more missed milestone events.
I’d love your support, if only to check in on my progress on my fundraising page: http://www.tofighthiv.org/goto/50RideforKatt