Robert Garofalo MD, MPH
Division Chief, Adolescent Medicine
Director, Center for Gender, Sexuality and HIV Prevention
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Support Dr. Rob Garofalo’s Ride for AIDS Chicago. All of the proceeds raised support those in our community living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Read more about Dr. Rob Garofalo’s experience and Ride for AIDS Chicago below.

On July 9th and 10th I will participate in my 5th Ride for AIDS Chicago – and I am asking for your support. The Ride is 200 miles (100 miles each of the two days) and all of the proceeds raised support those in our community living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. 

This year I turned 50 years old — and it was a little more than 6 years ago now that I tested positive for HIV. It was without question the most devastating moment and loneliest time in my life. You see, it may be 2016 and we may be 30+ years into the HIV epidemic, but stigma related to HIV is alive and well. Guilt, shame and isolation are far-too-often what people diagnosed with HIV grapple. They manage stigma along with trying to get connected to care and take lifesaving medication. I am not proud to say, I almost lost myself to self-imposed isolation and loneliness — unable to afford myself the same compassion I have spent my career giving others living with HIV. I struggled to find my footing – and rediscover peace and joy in my life. But, mine is a success story. With the help of my dog Fred – I found the courage to re-engage with the world and open up my heart to friends and family who have been singularly supportive. Thankfully, I have many luxuries in life — a home, a job, health insurance, the love and support for those around me – luxuries that many people living with HIV do not have. THAT’S WHERE THE AIDS RIDE COMES IN.

The monies raised by the Ride for AIDS Chicago support the services that people living with HIV need and all-too-often have a hard time getting. My Team – Team Fred – is a community partner in the 2016 Ride. This means that the monies raised support the mission of BOTH Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) and Fred Says — the personal charity I started with my dog to support agencies across the country that help and support HIV+ youth. If you are not familiar with TPAN – I can assure you that this agency in Chicago serves people that NO OTHER agency in Chicago either seeks to serve or can do so well. They save lives – with care and support services for marginalized populations living with HIV.

Last year – during my 4th AIDS Ride I wrote an article for Positively Aware magazine detailing, Why I Ride. Please take the time to click on this link and read the article as it is both personal and pays tribute to many of my friends who have inspired me over the years. Without question participating in the Ride for AIDS Chicago was part of my own healing related to my HIV diagnosis:

Humbly I ask for your support.  I know you each receive numerous requests for fundraising support – and I completely understand if this request is not something you can commit to. However, if you can contribute and you want to help us end stigma and end the epidemic that HIV has become — then consider a donation using the link below.