Why I Ride: David Shaul
Thankfully, with time, treatments evolved and the death sentence was lifted. People stopped dying the horrible deaths of the ’80s and started living completely normal lives with proper treatment. Though the disease was still very real and present, the "crisis" was seemingly over.
I moved to New York City to work in the Broadway theatre scene in the early ’80s in the middle of the AIDS crisis. Within a matter of a few years, in my mid 20's, I started to deal with the horrific sickness and death of friends and colleagues, many of whom were my age. Young, gay men like myself were dropping as if we were at war. It was a surreal time when going to memorial services and visiting hospital beds was common practice. Losing close friends in the prime of their and your life, sometimes holding their hand as they took their last breath, is not something I wish on anyone. Today, I feel somewhat honored to have been there for the call. We did what we had to do in order to help those less fortunate pass with dignity. In those days a diagnosis was tantamount to a death sentence, but look how far we've come today.
I moved to L.A. in 1998 and had always known about the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center but had never become involved. Then last year I decided to ride in the AIDS/LifeCycle, and my commitment to fighting this disease and those affected was renewed. What started as a personal challenge and an “I’m 50 but I'll show them” binge quickly turned into a passion. The community involved in AIDS/LifeCycle is some of the finest, most loving and generous of spirit people I've ever met. From my first training ride I knew I belonged here!
What I didn't know when I signed up to ride was that the work done by the organizations who benefit from our fundraising—the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation—is vitally important and saves lives every day. I was blown away when I took my first tour of the LAGLC, heard the statistics and saw the life saving work they do. I had no idea of the magnitude and scope of their work. I am proud and honored to help in their efforts to treat and end this disease.
I ride for many many reasons. I ride for the past—for loved ones gone. I ride for the present—for those in need today. I ride for the future—for a time when young people will only read about AIDS in the history books. And I ride because it was one of the greatest weeks of my life!
In short, I ride not only because I want to. I ride because I have to! Here's to a world without AIDS!
For more info on AIDS/LifeCycle, visit http://www.aidslifecycle.org, or register to ride with us next June by clicking here and enter discount code: INSTINCT. If you’d like to support David in his ALC efforts, visit his page here.