Why I Ride: Eldin Jasarevic
I was 19 when my best friend called to tell me he was HIV positive. I had no idea what to say and fell back on platitudes. I told him that living HIV was no longer a death sentence. I told him about recently watching the documentary Silverlake Life: The View From Here. I told him that I could hardly imagine what he must be feeling at this moment. I told him that we would love him no matter what happened. Yet, in reality, I was scared and carried with me the very real heaviness that every aspect of his life was going to change.
Over the years, I experienced many moments like this. I heard stories of friends becoming homeless when their parents found out they were HIV positive, stories of feeling alone, stories of feeling like they don’t deserve love. And upon hearing each story, I felt that no matter what I had to say in an effort to comfort them and ease their pain, it simply wasn’t good enough.
When I first heard about the AIDS/LifeCycle and the services that the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center provide, I wanted to do whatever I could to get involved. While I wasn’t able to protect my friends from what they went through, my participation in the AIDS/LifeCycle will help prevent future generations from enduring similar experiences. After making the commitment to participate in this year’s event, I have been on my bike everyday, covering well over 1,000 miles already. I will ride the event for my friends, old and new, with determination to help improve their quality of life.
For anyone that is interested in following me on my journey from Missouri to the AIDS/LifeCycle ‘13, I started the hashtag #RoadToALC13 on Instagram (@_eldin). I invite everyone to tag their pictures as a way to connect, meet, and support fellow riders!