WE RAISED $1,110,000 FOR HIV/AIDS TODAY!

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    Nov 15, 2014 10:53 PM GMT
    Our SMART Ride 11 arrived in Key West from Miami this afternoon, with nearly 500 bicyclists and 240-odd crew (and indeed, some were very odd), and the money amount raised to date was revealed at our closing ceremony. It was $1,110,000, greater than last year's record $1,079,000 (exact amount TBD, as late donations are still arriving). My own rider team raised nearly $40,000, a little less than last year.

    I switched from rider to doing crew at the last moment, my shaky health dictating that I not attempt the 165 miles, although I had qualified to ride with the donations I'd earned. But I'm already registered for next year's SMART Ride 12, as Rider 66, the age I'll be. I usually ride with my age as my Rider Number, as an incentive for me.

    My husband was Crew again for the 11th time, and we paired together. At 80 he was the oldest member of the Ride.

    Tonight we have 3 celebration parties to attend in Key West. Will also be taking a sunset sailing cruise Sunday with some of our fellow participants. And then we'll be staying here until Thursday just to veg. We need the rest! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 15, 2014 11:08 PM GMT
    Oh, and as usual took some pics. You've seen plenty of shots of bikes and riders from our previous Rides, so some different stuff this time, I think.

    Have to wait until I get home to my iMac next week to post the pics here, though. Posting pics from my iPad through my image service is too much hassle for me.
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    Nov 16, 2014 9:53 AM GMT
    We had our big celebration party here tonight. And I wore my new kilt for the first time (in traditional fashion, naturally). I have another thread about purchasing it, after deciding to try it as "gay resort wear".

    For this special party this men-only complex allowed women to enter, but that didn't bother me. No one hassled me about it, and only one guy sorta half-lifted it to check me out. I think this is gonna be a good choice.

    BTW, comments I did get centered not around the kilt I was wearing, but the belly fat I WASN'T wearing. I've lost nearly 20 pounds recently, and it's apprently becoming noticeable. I'm really working on losing these pounds I acquired during my illness, using the gym and controlling my diet, and people are beginning to see it. Very gratifying! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 16, 2014 2:53 PM GMT
    Congrats! You told me you didn't think you were going to hit the $1 million mark, so good for you for exceeding it!
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    Nov 16, 2014 3:56 PM GMT
    Congrats!
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    Nov 16, 2014 5:11 PM GMT
    Sharkspeare said
    Congrats! You told me you didn't think you were going to hit the $1 million mark, so good for you for exceeding it!

    Thanks! Yeah, we didn't expect it, because my husband processes the paper checks, and we knew where we were compared to last year.

    But the total gets hidden about 3 weeks before the Ride, to all but about 3 people, including our CPA (with whom we bunked at the Friday night Ride stopover, but we'd never dream of asking him).

    What's important is that even more HIV/AIDS clients will receive services. That's what we're all about.

    My husband lost his partner to AIDS. You know him well, you probably understand his personality, why he's so motivated to work for HIV/AIDS causes.

    As for myself, my first partner also died of AIDS, literally taking his last breath as I held him in my arms. Can anyone appreciate what that does to you?

    Hence my husband & I, both retired and with nothing better to do with our lives than indulge ourselves in aimless pleasures, are instead focused on HIV/AIDS charity work.
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    Nov 16, 2014 5:27 PM GMT
    timmm55 saidCongrats!

    Thank you, my dear! We clash on some topics, but I thank you for this. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 16, 2014 6:09 PM GMT
    Way to go. Good work.
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    Nov 17, 2014 3:28 AM GMT
    JimiB saidWay to go. Good work.

    It's work I hope others here will consider doing. Really why I mention what we do, as an incentive for others to also get involved.
  • waccamatt

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    Nov 17, 2014 6:32 AM GMT
    Good job, Art, that's a lot of money for a worthy cause.
  • tiger123

    Posts: 63

    Nov 17, 2014 6:41 AM GMT
    Well done!!!
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    Nov 17, 2014 9:47 AM GMT
    Congrats!icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 17, 2014 10:47 AM GMT
    Great work Bob!
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    Nov 17, 2014 1:13 PM GMT
    waccamatt saidGood job, Art, that's a lot of money for a worthy cause.

    Thanks! Indeed it is. The 7 non-profit HIV/AIDS agencies we support will be getting at least $100,000 each at a check presentation ceremony in January. And $100,000 is held back for smaller one-time grants to HIV/AIDS organizations in Florida that petition us throughout the year.

    The SMART Ride raises no money for itself - it's comprised of volunteers and has very low overhead expenses, which are covered by our corporate sponsors. 100% of the money each rider must raise in order to participate goes to these 7 charitable organizations. We're one of the few not-for-profits in the US that can make that claim.

    And we audit our recipient agencies to ensure the money we give them is used only for HIV client services. No pay raises for staff, no office renovations, no company parties, etc. In the past our money has been used for improvements to ALF (assisted living facilities), to expand HIV free testing operations, to buy an HIV testing van, to hire an additional counselor on staff, and so forth.
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    Nov 17, 2014 4:18 PM GMT
    Wow, that's awesome! If I'm off tomorrow, I may ride up to WM and buy you dinner. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Nov 17, 2014 4:44 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidWow, that's awesome! If I'm off tomorrow, I may ride up to WM and buy you dinner. icon_biggrin.gif

    We don't return to WM until late afternoon Thursday, 11-20. We're still in KW. And Thursday night we're attending a party at the Village Pub (where you've been) for our Village Pub VIPs rider team, of which I'm a member. But dinner sounds great, we'll arrange something.