Last May, when I underwent knee replacement surgery, I promised my surgeon, Kevin Bozic, MD, assistant professor in the UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, that I would be the "poster child" for knee replacement. I was going to work hard to have the best recovery imaginable.
As a result of Bozic's legendary skill and my tenacity, three months after my surgery, I was dancing. But I had bigger goals.
Five years ago, my husband, Jerry, participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, bicycling 585 miles over six days, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Knowing I needed motivation and a goal to keep myself rehabbing, I presented a scenario to Jerry: Let's do the ride on a tandem.
As anyone who has slogged up a hill on one of these bicycles-built-for-two can tell you, riding a tandem is hard work, takes coordination and, in some circles, is known as a "divorce-cycle."
Despite all that, Jerry and I decided we were up to the challenge and started training this past fall, just five months after my surgery. We started off slow with a 30-mile ride, and every weekend have been gradually increasing miles and elevation as we train.
My motivation, though, has changed somewhat since that fateful day I asked Jerry to bike with me to Los Angeles. Through the training rides, I have been meeting some incredible people, including members of the "Positive Pedalers," people living with HIV and AIDS who bicycle and are also training for the ride. Seeing them coaching others and easily outriding me put my knee replacement into perspective. It also made me realize there was a much more important reason to ride. It's the real mission of AIDS/LifeCycle: to increase awareness of and raise money for, people living with AIDS.
And something else occurred to me. Since I work at UCSF and UCSF is a sponsor for the ride and has even fielded a team in the past, there must be other riders and roadies (those who provide a whole host of support for the ride) among the faculty and staff of the schools and the medical center. I posted a message on the ride discussion board, and so far, two people have responded. I know there are more out there, so I hope to hear from them as well.
Carol Hyman and husband Jerry of San Rafael take a break from training for the AIDS/LifeCycle, which raises money to provide the critical services and education needed to meet the growing needs of the HIV/AIDS community.
The two UCSF riders I've heard from thus far are Doreen Gonzales (rider #1441) and Eleanor Edralin (rider # 2096). You can view their websites by going to www.aidslifecycle.org.
And during the ride from June 3 to 9, I'm planning on taking my tablet computer and digital camera along to blog about the UCSF community's participation.
While there is hardly a person I know who hasn't been touched by HIV and AIDS in some way - we've all had friends who are fighting a related disease or who have unfortunately lost the fight - those of us at UCSF have a special relationship with it. We are connected to an institution that is doing groundbreaking work to find treatments, and some of us are even actively participating in providing those treatments, or doing research that will help save lives or perhaps even prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
So, if you are riding or a roadie, let me know. If you aren't doing either, make sure you find someone who is and pledge your support. Every dollar and encouraging word will be appreciated!
Editor's Note: Carol Hyman is an assistant news director for News Services, part of the UCSF Public Affairs department. She can be contacted at [email protected].