Harnessing Social Media for People Living With HIV/AIDS

I’m excited to be cycling from Toronto to Montreal again this year in support of PWA Toronto, the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation. Last year was my first year doing the ride, and it was a remarkable experience. Yes, that kind of remarkable.

6 days, 600 km, 200 riders, 1 good cause. Last year we raised $600,000. I have no doubt that Co-chair Walter and the rest of team are going to pull out all the stops to surpass that milestone by a significant margin this year.

I learned a lot last year…about the human spirit, about the power of possibility, about our need to find ourselves in community with others. What seemed at first a distant impossibility was in the end a simple act of pedaling, one stroke after another.

I’m looking to my friends, colleagues, clients, blog readers and the members of the various communities of which I am a member to help me continue this journey this year. It is your support in the past that made last year possible, where I raised $2,500 for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. This year, my target is $5,000, and I hope to surpass that goal.

Please Pledge Me in the 2007 Bike Rally for PWA Toronto

I also want to experiment with social media tools to both enhance my fundraising efforts, to increase the profile of the event and to enhance and maintain the sense of community that gets created in the ever-evolving packs of riders on the road.

Many riders experience a post-Bike Rally depression. Believe it or not, we grieve: for the open road, for that sense of personal challenge and most of all for our wolfpack, our loose and shifting community which is a moving, living, breathing entity in its own right.

I have created an informal Facebook group for Bike Rally riders, crew, friends and supporters. The Bike Rally also collects a list of blogs, which I’ll share as well.

There is also a great opportunity to document the journey with blogs, photoblogs and videoblogs from the road. Anybody interested in volunteering as crew as part of a social media team? Can we get some sponsorship for EVDO wireless cards and service? There are hundreds of stories during the ride, and a huge extended community of interest who want to follow them and participate in them.

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