MORRISBURG – Since 1999, the Friends for Life Bike Rally has brought together people in an inclusive and supportive challenge to help people living with HIV and AIDS in Toronto, Kingston, and Montréal. This year’s event – the 25th annual ride – stopped in Morrisburg during the fifth leg of the rally.
Starting in Toronto on August 6, the six-day cycling rally saw 215 participants ride up to 600 kilometres and raise $1.77 million this year.
Their stop in Morrisburg at the Waterfront Park was the first rest stop after taking off from Johnstown earlier that morning. Cyclists were on their way to Lancaster, their rest stop of the fifth leg of the rally.
The cyclists were supported along the entire route by a group of 90 volunteers who set up rest stops, performed bike repairs if needed, and assisted with camping and accommodation support.
Funds raised will benefit the PWA – Toronto People with AIDS Foundation, AIDS Community Care Montréal, and Trellis HIV and Community Care in Kingston. The groups assist people living with HIV and AIDS with support for expensive medications, safe and affordable housing, and accessible medical care.
“HIV stigma is so powerful that most people living with HIV won’t go to other agencies for fear of being stigmatized and discriminated against for being HIV+,” the organization said. “This makes HIV organizations like PWA, Trellis, and ACCM so critical to providing support for people living with HIV.”
Planning for next year’s event is already underway and will run from August 4-9, 2024.