When the NorCal AIDS Cycle (NCAC) ended at the Capitol on May 19, 2013 – we had raised somewhere in the vicinity of $325,000 with more still coming in. Imagine that? A group of somewhere around 200 individuals raising $325,000 from December 2012-May 2013. I myself collected almost $5,500 thanks to all the generous donors who sponsored me to ride the 330 miles in 4 days. All of that money went to NCAC.
One thing that separates NCAC from other big fund raisers is the fact that NCAC has been able to give as much as 72% of the funds collected to our beneficiaries. This is way higher than most fundraising activities. Just the other day I saw an article encouraging individuals to do research about organizations before making donations. I can’t remember now where I saw it (yes, I blame it on menopause),however, many of the organizations listed turned over less than 25% to the organizations they were raising money for. I recognized many of those organizations from phone calls I have received asking for money. With many fundraising organizations, the overhead is so high that little of the money actually reaches the people or organization(s) for which it is intended. We are able to return a high percentage of the funds raised back to the community with a lot of volunteer help, donations of food and water for rest stops from businesses, and corporate sponsorships.
I don’t have the list of beneficiaries for this year, though I do know that there are about 8-10 different programs supporting individuals and families affected by HI/AIDS in Sacramento and surrounding areas that benefitted from the funds NCAC raised. There will be a formal presentation of monies probably next month so I will know more then who all the beneficiaries were at that time.
I received a lot of support this year from friends and acquaintances that go back to elementary school days. I often wonder what it is that motivates individuals to donate. I know that a couple of my donors have lost brothers to HIV, some have children who are in the high risk groups (young gay men), and others, like me, have a family member living with HIV. And then there are those who work day in and day out with HIV/AIDS patients at work. I thanked one of my largest donors for his support, and he said “I will always support you – because I know it is important to you – it’s personal”. It doesn’t really matter the specifics about why you donate, what matters is that all of you who chose to make a donation care and want to make a difference.
Taking that extra step and writing a check, or going to the website to make a donation, you have become a part of the change. The change to put an end to HIV/AIDS. HIV is preventable, and we can put a stop to the increasing number of new cases each year by getting tested and encouraging everyone we know – our children, our parents, our grandparents and friends to also get tested. At this time 20% of those who are infected do not even know they are infected. There are also many who are infected and not receiving the care and treatment they should be due to lack of funding and resources available. Knowing your status is important as early intervention and treatment give you a better chance of living a long healthy life with the virus under control. Medications these days are powerful and can bring viral loads down to undetectable in a fairly short time IF medications are available and taken as prescribed.
I am fighting this battle and will keep on fighting until there is no longer a need to fight. Those of you that have donated to me or others through NCAC have joined in that fight as well. You have made a difference in someone’s life and you will never know who it is or how it happened, AND I can tell you that to that person, you are their hero!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and………………let’s do this again next year!!!!!