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Gina Lemon – Why I Ride Project

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Why I Ride Project - Brent Dundore Photography

“I ride to for my dad.” 

Gina Lemon

Why do you Red Ribbon Ride? I ride on the Red Ribbon Ride, first for my Dad. He died when I was only 17 years old. He was not going to tell me that he had AIDS because he thought that I would not love him anymore. My heart broke, and I told him that he was my Dad no matter what and that I loved him. He lived only a short three months after telling me his status, although he suffered without my support for a long time prior. It pains me to know that someone would fear rejection by those who are supposed to love you the most, Family. On this ride we create family and we realize that we all impact each other and all need love. I ride to honor my Dad’s spirit and to show others that love is the most important thing that we can give.

What is your favorite thing about the Red Ribbon Ride? My favorite thing about the Red Ribbon Ride is community. This is a community that is open, loving and supportive! Everyone comes together for a common purpose. To help those living with HIV/AIDS and to see a brighter bolder future for all of us. It is a community where possibility exists and potential is realized.

What would you tell someone who is on the fence about joining our ride next year?  If you want to be in a wonderful community and one that will support you to conquer something impossible, join us on the ride. If you want to support someone that is HIV+, join us on the ride. Anything that you dream you can achieve it! We are human+kind. If you want to see this is action, this is the place to be!

How were you introduced to Red Ribbon Ride? I previously completed the Twin Cities to Chicago AIDS Ride, and when that ended and the Red Ribbon Ride started I wanted to ensure that the legacy lived on. AIDS, as an epidemic is not over and this is something that I can do. I believe that everyone should do what they can do to make an impact on our world and this has helped me understand what is possible!

What is one great memory you can share from your ride/crew experience in the past?  In 2010 I was asked to speak at Closing Ceremonies (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQ14K_EjKC8) and it was a tough moment, because I just had my first daughter Alana and realizing that she would never meet her Grandfather brought me to tears and then while on the ride I had another realization that I had officially lived 1/2 of my life with my Dad and 1/2 my life without my Dad.  No 17 year old should have to loose their parent.  He was only 40 years old and this year I will turn 40 years old.  40 years on this planet is not enough time.  I was honored to speak at closing ceremonies and share my story.  I hope my story continues to inspires others to ride or join us on the ride!

What do you do away from the Red Ribbon Ride?  I love taking pictures and dancing and have recently picked up running. During the day I work for a private real estate investment and management company in Human Resources.

What person or group of people are you hoping to bring to the ride this next year?  Anyone that thinks that they are not able to do the ride, I would encourage you to ask for help and see what happens. I never thought that I could do the ride this year, and I asked for help and am making it happen. You just never know how those in your life will support you. Ask big and you will receive big things! Trust in your power to do good for yourself and others!

What is your fundraising goal this year? What creative ways are you going to achieve that goal?  I will ask strangers for money! This is the best part, because it gives those that don’t know you the opportunity to support the cause. This will also allow me to share my story with new people and continue to make an impact.

 

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