I’m From Long Beach, CA – Video Story.

by Suzanne Jonson

Last week, guest videographer and editor Jesse James Rice and I accompanied the more than 3000 riders and volunteers of the AIDS LifeCycle to collect some of their stories. If you’re not familiar with ALC, it’s the world’s largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser where riders bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles over the course of 7 days.

This year’s ALC is the biggest yet, bringing in more than $13 million to the prevention of and education about HIV/AIDS. It’s the 10 year anniversary of the ride and also the 30th anniversary of the first documented case of HIV in the U.S. We’re partnering with our friends over at Towleroad and will be uploading daily Video Stories there as well as right here on IFD. Be sure to “like” IFD on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to see the pics and updates from the Ride.

I’m Suzanne Johnson, and originally I was from Long Beach, California. And I first knew about the AIDS problem in the early 80’s when my daughter was doing a special project at Rochester and they were going into homes of people that needed aide, home aide. You probably wouldn’t even know, but it was a horrible time, and living in New York at the time, but there was a doctor in San Francisco – her name was Lorraine Day, and she made a big thing about – she would not touch anybody with HIV and said nobody else should. And they shouldn’t have them in the hospital. It was just horrible! And everybody else in her group of the team would not go to the one fellow who would have HIV or AIDS, and she did. And both her father and I were so proud of her, I could cry today thinking about it that, God!

My daughter was on the last California AIDS Ride and I went to see her and I thought, “I have got to get involved with this.” And so on the first ALC Ride I was a Roadie. And then I was a Roadie for six years, and this year I said, “10th Anniversary, I just really got to go back.” And also, I’ve had cancer before, and I had cancer surgery again this year and I thought, you know, I’ve really got to do something to prove to myself, and other people that I’m strong enough. So I said, “Okay, AIDS Ride is perfect.” And I’m having a great time!

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