SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Locally based AIDS/Life cyclists are hosting a fundraiser Sunday, Apr. 23 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Validation Ale in the Funk Zone to raise funds for HIV/Aids medical care and research.
The AIDS/LifeCycle is a seven day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles happening June 4-10, 2023. The ride is co-produced by and benefits the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Andy Fletcher, one of the Santa Barbara riders in the AIDS/LifeCycle, said he is riding in honor of the people who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses.
"I do have several friends that have suffered from it, continue to suffer from it, or at least live with the disease, and I've lost a couple of friends to it," said Fletcher.
Ricky Alamillo said he was inspired to ride in this year's AIDS/LifeCycle after volunteering last year and watching his friends participate in the cycle.
Money raised during Sunday's fundraiser will go to support the Santa Barbara AIDS/LifeCycle riders.
Those who donate can enter a raffle to win prizes from local businesses such as a month membership to one of the F45 locations in the area, a session at Procovry, a gift certificate to Pearl Social, a $50 gift card to Bettina Pizzeria, a gift package to CorePower Yoga, a gift package to Cycle Santa Barbara, a gift certificate to the Nutrition Shop in Santa Barbara, a gift basket from Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, or a stretch session from Stretch Lab in Montecito.
Validation Ale is located at 102 E Yanonali St in Santa Barbara.
Fletcher said raising money for the AIDS/LifeCycle is also about raising awareness.
"Really getting people to donate is not just about providing the health care services to people that really do need it, but it's also about raising awareness that this is still an issue that people have to struggle with and that we need to treat and make sure we can eradicate globally," said Fletcher.
The AIDS/LifeCycle website also says donations are immediately directed to one of San Francisco AIDS Foundation's or the Los Angeles LGBT Center's life-saving programs. For example; a $50 donation helps to provide free hepatitis C testing, treatment, and support, a $100 donation covers the annual cost of medical supplies for 5 HIV patients, and a $1,000 donation links one person living with HIV to housing.
Fletcher and Alamillo said the hardest part about training for the AIDS/LifeCycle is finding the time, especially since the Central Coast has seen a lot of rainy days.
Fletcher said the first thing he will do after completing the 545-mile bike ride is eat a pizza.
Alamillo said people can come out and support the cyclists when they ride through Santa Barbara on Friday, June 9.