Shannon Webb, who works in the Dean's Office in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, is not that crazy about riding a bike, but she is crazy about the AIDS/LifeCycle ride.
She rode for the first time last year, and she's gearing up to do the 545-mile journey to Los Angeles again next month.
Webb has a very personal reason for participating in AIDS/LifeCycle. Fourteen years ago, her father succumbed to AIDS.
"At the time, I thought that my whole world had ended," she writes on her webpage
. "Over the years, I have struggled with the pain of losing my father, of losing my father to AIDS. But, I am empowered; empowered to heal this pain by making a difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. I am taking the opportunity to show the world that the people fighting this disease are not horrible, or scary, but that they need our love and support. I have decided to make a difference."
Like so many of the other riders, including several others from the UCSF community, Webb receives inspiration from the "Positive Pedalers," a group of HIV-positive riders. "I can't complain about the pain I might feel after riding all day when I see one of the Positive Pedalers whizzing by," she says. "It's very inspirational. I wish my dad could be one of them."
She has been training for the ride by hitting the gym in Millberry Union on the Parnassus campus every day to spin and lift weights. She has recently added a new activity to her exercise regimen - swimming in the bay, which she finds very liberating.
She also admits she's more of a runner than a bicycler. "I'm addicted to running," she says," but I'm more addicted to the AIDS ride. I've wanted to do something to help people with HIV and AIDS, and so I'm so excited to be participating again."
Webb's first experience with the ride was by taking her partner's sister to the opening ceremonies, as well as picking her up in LA. Before the ceremony was over, she had signed up for the following year.
When asked about her favorite part of the ride Webb, exclaims, "I like it all," though she admits to "cranky days" when the ride gets hard or exhausting. Also, last year while she rode, she kept a lot of her feelings regarding her father to herself. This year, she's ready to share some of her thoughts.
Her biggest wish for the ride is that more people would get involved. "It's kind of sad that there are still people in California who don't know about the ride," Webb says.
Last year, Webb rode on a team. But this year, she's raising funds on her own, and she has just about reached her goal. She is keeping a training blog on her LifeCycle website
, so anyone who wants to make a donation or keep up with how she's doing can check it out.
AIDS/LifeCycle is co-produced by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center, and is designed to advance their shared interests to end the pandemic and human suffering caused by AIDS.
"I wish that [my dad] had had the services of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation," Webb says. "If he had, he might still be here."
Carey Drumright: Determined to Give Back to the CommunityUCSF Today
, May 8, 2007
Training for AIDS LifeCycle Puts Knee Replacement into PerspectiveUCSF Today
, March 12, 2007