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Pedal Power for Aids

To 'Reach Someone . . Afraid to Tell People'

May 31, 1997

When her mother became extremely ill, DORA GONZALES, 29, couldn't figure out what was wrong. Little did she know that five years ago, her mother had been diagnosed as HIV positive. Gonzales learned only two weeks before her mother's death last year that she had been fighting a lonely and silent battle with AIDS. An assistant in an investment banking firm, Gonzales is participating in her first California AIDS Ride in memory of her mother.

Part of the reason I am really excited is that this is a very visible charity event. I want to reach the most closed-minded person. I want to be able to tell them AIDS is not just a gay thing and not just a guy thing. Everybody and nobody deserves to get this disease.

If I can go out there and reach the person who says that gay people deserve to get this, I will have accomplished what I set out to do.

Also, if I can reach someone who has AIDS and who is afraid to tell people, then I will know what I am doing is doing some good. I basically don't want someone to go through what I went through.

There was no time to ask questions or figure out what had gone on in my mother's life, how she dealt with HIV, what treatments worked for her and what her everyday life was like. Sadly enough, after her death I have gotten a lot of information on HIV and AIDS. There were many telltale signs I didn't pick up on and that were explained away because I was naive.

I think the California AIDS Ride provides us with an opportunity to reach people and talk about AIDS, HIV and the education we need to give people.

I am doing this in my mother's memory, for all the people who can be prevented from getting AIDS and for the people suffering with it right now.

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