Posts Tagged ‘Hill Country Ride for AIDS’

HCRA-Dale2
This past week, I ran into an individual I hadn’t seen in a coon’s age. We’d worked together years ago and since, we’d lost contact. It was wonderful to see her again. We caught up on the details of our lives since we’d last seen one another. She asked about the rumor she’d heard I’d been ill several years earlier. I told her I had been diagnosed with AIDS.

Her response took me by surprise. “Well, thank goodness you’re cured.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

My friend thought because she’d not heard of AIDS on the TV or read about it in the papers, the virus was cured. She’d heard about a once-a-day pill people took to prevent contracting AIDS, and she assumed that was a cure-all for AIDS.

Out of sight – out of mind. Because the media doesn’t report on HIV/AIDS as they once did, the general population believes HIV/AIDS must not exist any longer. Also, too many people have assumed that HIV/AIDS was cured since introducing Truvada (the little blue pill) which prevents an individual from acquiring HIV.

My friend brought up the fact I didn’t look sick, therefore, I couldn’t have AIDS. It hadn’t occurred to her that over the years major strides have occurred in HIV medications. Today a person can live with HIV/AIDS without exhibiting physical manifestations, that is if they have access to proper medical services, take expensive medications, and care for themselves.

The visit with my friend was educational. I was aware of the need to educate on HIV/AIDS prevention, but there is also a need to educate the general population of the broader picture of where HIV/AIDS research is today.

For 43 years, HIV/AIDS had been a cloud over my life. In the early 80’s the media had convinced me that because I was a gay male, I would die of HIV/AIDS. I believed that was my fate until AIDS became a reality for me. After my diagnosis, my fight was on to beat this virus. Since then I’ve been actively involved to battle the stigma of living with the virus and to do what I can to encourage research, education, and to assist others struggling with the day-to-day challenges of living with HIV/AIDS.

That is why I’m passionate about supporting the central Texas AIDS Service Organizations to continue doing the fabulous work they do. For them to continue to provide the greatly needed services to assist central Texans affected with HIV/AIDS.

This past October was a wake-up call for the HIV/AIDS community when one of the 10 central Texas AIDS service organizations permanently closed their doors. For 26 years, this organization had provided non-medical support to central Texans living with HIV/AIDS. I was one of their many clients. The organization’s board cited “funding challenges” as their reason for closing. This can not be the future for the remaining 9 agencies. The reality is that without funding, the AIDS Service organizations cannot continue to provide low or no-cost services to the HIV/AIDS community that depends on them.

Next Saturday the 19th annual Hill Country Ride for AIDS will occur. HCRA is the largest AIDS fundraising event in central Texas, benefiting 9 central Texas AIDS service organizations. I’m not physically able to ride a bicycle, but that’s not stopped me from participating as a VIRTUAL RIDER to help raise awareness that new HIV/AIDS infections are still on the rise AND to ask YOU to help me reach my goal of $1000 for Hill Country Ride for AIDS. Please share the LOVE and donate to assist central Texans affected by HIV/AIDS.

Share the LOVE  NOW by donating here:
https://hillcountryride.greatfeats.com/dale-thele

#HCRA2018

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“Dale, who has been diagnosed with AIDS,
is one of Travis County’s most well-known AIDS activist”
Central Health Austin

Like many writers, I write to work through my own personal challenges. Some of those challenges may include physical limitations, some are mental, some are emotional. Other writers work through the nightmares of their own personal demons. I write to temporarily escape my own challenges, to create something that hopefully will take the reader outside of themselves.

There was a time, in 2012 when I first received my HIV-Stage 3 (AIDS) diagnosis when I desperately needed an escape from my reality. That initial year, my hospital expenses exceeded a half million dollars and my medications totaled over $75,000. On top of being too ill to care for myself, I had the added burden of how would I pay for the life-saving treatment I was receiving. My reality was crushing down on me.

This is not uncommon for persons living with HIV/AIDS. Many, like myself, face homelessness, hunger, lack of transportation, inability to pay for medications and doctors. That’s where the AIDS Service Organizations in Austin come to the rescue to help persons living with HIV to navigate the life-saving services they need. Nine AIDS Service Organizations serve individuals living in and around Austin, TX. But they can not help those in need without funding.

April 28 is the 19th annual Hill Country Ride for AIDS, the largest HIV/AIDS fundraising event in central Texas. Hundreds of bicycle riders take to the trails to raise funds which directly benefit NINE local AIDS/HIV Service Organizations. The very organizations which have helped me and thousands of central Texans affected with HIV/AIDS.

I’m physically unable to participate in the ride as a bike rider, but I am committed to helping raise funds so the NINE AIDS Service organizations can continue to provide life-saving services to assist all of us living with HIV/AIDS.

I’m asking for YOUR help — to make a contribution to the HILL COUNTRY RIDE FOR AIDS.

Fact: without these service organizations, I would not be here today. Please, join me by showing your appreciation for the awesome work they do, by making a generous contribution. You can make a donation safely online through this link: https://hillcountryride.greatfeats.com/dale-thele

Thank YOU for sharing the LOVE!!!❤️❤️❤️

#HCRA2018

“Despite occasional health challenges of living with AIDS, Dale finds strength and unending energy in the countless opportunities he creates to help others. Dale is a force for good guided by unrelenting principles, thankfulness, and a tireless drive to make a difference in the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS.” – Prentiss Douthit, Ride Director, Hill Country Ride for AIDS