Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Ride for AIDS Chicago: Fighting HIV/AIDS mile after mile
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 565 times since Wed Jun 29, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The annual Ride For AIDS Chicago will have about 275 participants this year, including about 200 riders—and about half of the cyclists are first-time participants in the Test Positive Aware Network's largest fundraiser, which raises vital unrestricted funds for TPAN and its community partners.

The two-day, 200-mile bicycle ride on July 9-10, which starts and ends in suburban Evanston, is shooting to raise $750,000—and two weeks before the opening ceremony, that tally stood at about $375,000.

"Money raised through the Ride provides TPAN with the unrestricted funds we need to fill the gaps in funding for our programs and operational costs so that we can continue seamlessly providing excellent, and free, services for our clients," said TPAN CEO Patti Capouch. "Unrestricted funding is money that TPAN can use for any purpose, such as operating costs not covered by grants [rent, utilities], staff not covered by grants [finance staff, development staff] and programs not fully funded by grants, such as TPAN's Art Therapy program.

"As with many non-profits, several of TPAN's core programs operate with funding deficits, [such as] Client Advocacy [42 percent underfunded]; Prevention Services [19 percent underfunded]; Mental Health services [11 percent underfunded]; and Substance Abuse Programs [10 percent underfunded].

Capouch added, "Our goals for this year are to engage with the Ride's Community Partners and encourage more people to ride, crew, or volunteer to support those living with or at risk for HIV in Chicagoland. TPAN is committed to ending the stigma associated with HIV, and we believe that the Ride is one of the strongest ways to build community and unite agencies and individuals towards that goal. The Ride is an easy way to provide fundraising assistance and community engagement for TPAN and its six Community Partners, including the newly added Howard Brown Health, without adding expenses or staffing. In turn, the Community Partners extend TPAN's reach, allowing Ride donors and participants to enact greater change for Chicagoland's HIV community."

TPAN this year has added a one-day, 100-mile option to further encourage participation, Capouch said.

Ald. Ariel Reboyras ( 30th Ward ) is the current, longest-returning rider, having ridden for the last 11 years. Dr. Robert Garofalo is currently the top fundraiser, with $10,703 raised. Carl Branch is second, with $9,200, and James Sumers is third, with $7,160. Yvette Pryor and Gregory Schweickert round out the top five, with $6,000 each.

Capouch said this year's riders are, once again, a diverse bunch, "which supports TPAN's work to provide free programs for those affected by HIV regardless of economic status, race, ethnicity, or sexual identity," she said.

About 75 percent of the riders are male, 25 percent are under age 30;and 52 percent are older than 50. The majority are from Illinois, although there also are participants from Colorado, Texas, Michigan, Maryland, and Missouri. Capouch said, "This event appeals to people from a varying employment and socio-economic backgrounds, including CEOs [Chicago House's new CEO, Scott Ammarell, also a former TPAN board member]; doctors [Rob Garofalo, captain of the Fred Says team]; attorneys, financial executives, part-time servers, therapists [two of TPAN's staff therapists are riding: Kimberly Rogers and Christina Joly], HIV testing counselors, a small cadre of nannies, and others.

Some Ride participants are openly HIV-positive, and they once again can elect to wear an orange bandana during that weekend's event to symbolize their status.

"The orange bandanas are a central component of the Ride's mission to fight the stigma associated with HIV," Capouch said. "The Ride is a safe environment for those who are HIV-positive—participants are among friends, fellow HIV-positive people, and our HIV-negative allies. Choosing to wear an orange bandana is a way to link hands with our community and represent the spirit of freedom, living openly as yourself, and caring for those with HIV, which the Ride champions."

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky will speak at the opening ceremony.

As for the closing ceremony, "we're focusing on participant experience and encouraging friends and family members to join us to celebrate each rider's journey of 100 or 200 miles," Capouch said.

The Finale Festival will be held in Leahy Park, 1100 W. Lincoln St., in Evanston at 2-4 p.m.

And yes, there will be the traditional Rider-less bike procession will be back this year, which has grown into the most moving, emotional moment of the entire weekend.

A group of HIV-positive riders and crew will lead the bike in at the opening ceremony, and return the bike at the Finale Festival. "The bike commemorates those lost to HIV/AIDS and reminds us that those who aren't able to join us for the two-day event are with us in spirit," Capouch said.

Capouch, 53, provides strategic direction for the event, and she works hand in hand with Gary Nelson, the events and communication manager. She also serves on the crew for several pre-Ride training sessions.

When asked if she will ever ride, Capouch said she likely won't—but she definitely cherishes her role within the Ride, particularly as part of the crew.

"I think I was made to be more of a behind-the-scenes crew member when it comes to athletic events," she said. "I grew up in the country where I learned to ride a bike; that is the only place I've ever ridden. I really admire all of the folks who are doing the Ride, though. They work so hard—physically and emotionally—for several months to train and fundraise. I am so happy to support them on their journey, from big picture planning of the event to pouring ice into riders' thermos' at a pit stop."

The day before the Ride, Capouch will spend hours helping to load pit crew vans and ironing out last-minute details. The morning of the Ride, she'll bring coffee and the donuts to the opening ceremony. "I welcome the riders and wish them a safe journey and then head out on the road," she said. "I drive to every pit stop so I can greet the riders as they come in and help the crew teams in any way I can.

"My favorite part is greeting the riders as they make their way into camp and then visiting with them, listening to their stories of their day. On day two, the riders need extra cheering. Again, I'll hit all of the pit stops before making my way back to the closing ceremonies."

Capouch hands out medals to finishing riders.

"It's such an emotional and exhilarating experience," she said. "Last year, the [Ride] was one of the highlights of my year at TPAN.

"Even if someone has not lost someone personally to HIV/AIDS, this event is a reminder that we are all affected by the epidemic in some way as humans who strive for meaningful connection with others. When hundreds of Riders, crew and volunteers are banded together in solidarity during the weekend—riding through all kinds of weather, plus physical and emotional challenges, being visible in the streets to passersby, cheering squads sparkling in sequins peppering the route of rural Wisconsin—they are creating significant change.

"Whether riding 200 miles or being a crew member cutting up bananas, all participants of RFAC are promoting crucial dialog about HIV/AIDS."

In 2009, TPAN launched the Community Partner Program to broaden the Ride's impact. Local community-based organizations have the opportunity to participate in the Ride and raise money for their own programming. As result, dozens of HIV/AIDS programs throughout Chicago have been sustained. In 2016, the Ride is partnering with: About Face Theatre, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Center on Halsted, Chicago House Social Service Agency, Fred Says, and Howard Brown Health Center.

See .

This article shared 565 times since Wed Jun 29, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

HHS awards $48M to health centers to expand HIV prevention, treatment
On Sept. 16, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded more than $48 million to 271 HRSA-supported health centers across 26 states, Puerto Rico and ...

Gay News

USWNT national soccer team slams contract offer
The United States Women's National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) is calling the U.S. Soccer Federation's offer of identical contracts for its women's and men's national teams a publicity stunt, according to Yahoo! Sports. On S ...

Gay News

SPORTS Sky come up short vs. Mystics
At Wintrust Arena on Sept. 12, the Chicago Sky lost to the Washington Mystics 79-72. Sky center Azura Stevens scored a season-high 18 points in the Sky's loss. Earlier this season, the former first round pick ...

Gay News

Three Red Stars join USWNT for upcoming games against Paraguay
Three Chicago Red Stars will join the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) later this month as the squad takes on Paraguay Sept. 16 and 21. Defenders Casey Krueger and Tierna Davidson will be joined by ...

Gay News

SPORTS Blackhawks tickets available Sept. 14; Pride Night on April 12
The Chicago Blackhawks announced that single-game tickets for the team's 2021-22 regular season at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 12 p.m. ...

Gay News

New safety precautions announced for 30th annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago Oct. 2
--From a press release - CHICAGO — AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) has announced proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of event will be required for all in-person participants for the 30th annual AIDS Run & ...

Gay News

Chicago Red Stars open nominations for 2021 #SHEINSPIRESME Award
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Nominations are now open for the Chicago Red Stars' 2021 #SHEINSPIRESME Award. #SHEINSPIRESME is an annual award presented to women who exemplify leadership, practice social responsibility and who inspire and uplift their community. T ...

Gay News

SPORTS Sky clinch playoff spot with Sept. 5 win
The Chicago Sky officially secured a ticket to the postseason. By virtue of the team's 92-84 victory over the Las Vegas Aces at Wintrust Arena on Sept. 5, the Sky will advance to the 2021 WNBA ...

Gay News

WNBA names 25 greatest players in history
On Sept. 5, the WNBA commemorated its landmark 25th season by announcing the selection of "The W25"—a collection of the 25 greatest and most influential players in WNBA history, according to a press release. The unveiling ...

Gay News

Baseball player Bryan Ruby comes out as gay
Bryan Ruby has become the only active professional baseball player at any level to be publicly out, according to USA Today. He's a professional baseball player—a member of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, an Oregon team that's a ...

Gay News

Las Vegas Aces defeat Chicago Sky
Against the Las Vegas Aces, the Chicago Sky came up short Sept. 2, losing 90-83 at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Sky forward Candace Parker finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and two ...

Gay News

HIV AT 40: Global activist Phill Wilson talks Chicago, the '80s and vaccines
Phill Wilson is one of the best-known HIV/AIDS activists/educators around the globe. The Chicago native was the co-founder of the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum and the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. He ...

Gay News

HOCKEY Canada edges U.S. to win women's championships
Marie-Philip Poulin scored the golden goal at 7:22 of the first overtime period to give Canada a 3-2 win over the United States, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) website. It was Canada's first ...

Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky fall to Phoenix Mercury
At Phoenix's Footprint Center, the Chicago Sky fell to the Phoenix Mercury 103-83 on Aug. 31. The loss followed a 32-point win over the Seattle Storm on Aug. 29. Chicago once again had balanced scoring, with ...

Gay News

Celebration of life for Roman Buenrostro taking place Oct. 5
A celebration of life for the late Chicago advocate Roman Buenrostro will take place Tuesday, Oct. 5, 3-6 p.m., at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Buenrostro was an LGBTQ- and HIV/AIDS-rights activist who passed away ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.