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Presence Rides Again for AIDS/Lifecycle
By Meagan Johnson
April 10, 2023

The largest worldwide fundraiser for HIV/AIDS is a 545-mile, week-long bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and Presence is more than doubling our participation this year. The AIDS/Lifecycle (ALC) event, formerly known as the California AIDS Ride has been held since 1994, raising $286 Million. The funds benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Riders and roadies endure a beautiful, intense journey down the coast of California to raise support and awareness. Last year, Presence had three riders, and this year, our team has proudly grown to seven riders, one roadie, and three hometown heroes.

Our 2023 team consists of Presence staff and friends of Presence. Our seven team cyclists this year include our Team Captain Anthony Galura, Co-Captain Dale Knauss, Regina Galieva, Jill Herschleb, Ronald Keaton, Alejandro Miyashiro, and Presence CEO Jason Monberg. Jason “was inspired by friends and co-workers who did the ride last year. It is an exceptional cause to support and the event has been transformative for participants. That is an unbeatable combination!”

You don’t have to work at Presence, be local to California, or even be a cyclist to participate or join our team. The fundraiser has other great options available, from Roadie to Hometown Hero. This year, Chris Pimentel is joining the Presence team as a Roadie. He shares “This will be my third time participating on the ALC Ride– twice previously as a rider and my first time as a roadie will be this year. My first boyfriend, Roger Vasquesz, passed away from AIDS in the early 90’s. I’m participating to honor Roger, others who have passed, and those who are faced with HIV and AIDS-related illnesses each year.”

Presence team members Gina Erickson, Meagan Johnson, and Angela Adams are 2023 Hometown Heroes. Meagan remarks, “In 2022 I was proud and inspired by the Presence team's progress as I followed along with them on race week. As the parent of a transgender teenager, I am aware of the struggles and discrimination those in the community face pertaining to healthcare. Living in the midwest and parenting three kids, traveling to California for the week isn't in the cards, but being a Hometown Hero definitely is.” The opportunity to be a Hometown Hero is more inclusive and allows those who can’t ride the chance to participate with or without a team. Presence team member Gina Erickson says “I joined AIDS Lifecycle because I have seen the devastating effects that HIV/AIDS can have on individuals and communities. Everyone deserves access to healthcare and support, and by volunteering, I am doing my part to help make that a reality. It brings me great joy and fulfillment to know that my actions, no matter how small, can positively impact someone's life. I appreciate how accessible the event is because even though I cannot be there locally, I feel a sense of community as we come together to support this cause. ”

Anthony and Regina optimized ALC

Team Captain Anthony Galura says “Last year was the first year Presence participated in ALC. I started our first Presence ALC team with no expectations. It was a personal goal that I wanted to extend to others. To my surprise we had two people join the team and raised around $10k! 

Although only two of us ended up riding (one rider was unable to ride due to COVID), it was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. The community that ALC has built is quite extraordinary. There is so much support and care surrounding you at all times. 

The most memorable moment was when Regina and I found ourselves at a laundromat drying our clothes after it had rained for the first half of day one. Starting with the most challenging day really brought us close quickly. 

For folks considering participating in riding in ALC, my biggest advice would be to just sign up! It is such a great physical and emotional challenge for yourself as you sit on a bike with only your thoughts for 5-7 hours a day. Also, if you are not a biker, there are so many other ways to participate– which has allowed us to get more folks involved in our team this year. Be a home hero or a roadie, it will give you the same opportunity to help out without riding the 545 miles.”

The Presence Team has a collective fundraising goal of $30,000 for 2023. To learn more about the Presence ALC Team, or make a donation, visit our team page. It’s also not too late to join the ALC Ride, whether in person or home as part of the Presence Team! Read our previous blog post to learn more about Presence’s 2022 Lifecycle Team and our history of Social Impact and Collaboration.

“Despite remarkable progress that has been made since the disease was first discovered in 1981, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is far from over. In the seven days it takes AIDS/LifeCycle to reach Los Angeles, more than 650 people in the United States will become infected with HIV.” -AIDS Lifecycle Website