810 miles in 10 days on my bicycle — I'm excited to tell you about two truly amazing adventures I'll be undertaking this summer.  I'll spend 4 days (June 22-25) riding my bicycle 330 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Washington, DC, as I take part in my 3rd Washington D.C. AIDS Ride, then in August (21st-26th) I will ride in the very first Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride, a 6-day,  510-mile bicycle ride through the mountains from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

The Washington D.C. AIDS Ride benefits two AIDS service organizations here in the Washington metro area, the Whitman-Walker Clinic and Food & Friends, two organizations that provide a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people each year.  The Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride will benefit three research groups working on finding a Vaccine against AIDS, proceeds will fund the work of three of the world's top AIDS research teams, led by Dr. David Ho ("Time" magazine's 1997 "Man of the Year"), as well that of Dr. Irvin Chen at the UCLA AIDS Institute, and Dr. Rafi Ahmed at Emory University.  So this year we are not only helping take care of those already infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, we are also joining together to help STOP AIDS by finding a vaccine.

Over the past few years I volunteered on the support crew for two AIDS Rides and ridden the Washington DC AIDS Ride twice.  These experiences have had a tremendous impact on my life and inspired me to take up the challenge of participating in two Rides this year.  I have been training and by June I'll have worked my way up to riding around 200 miles per week – so you can see this is no small commitment on my part.

Another part of this commitment is to raise a minimum of  $2,000 for the DC Rideand $3,900 for the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride — yes, I've committed to raising at least $5,900!  This may sound like a lot of money, but do you realize that through my participation in two previous Washington DC AIDS Rides  my sponsors have donated $13,021 to help people living with HIV/AIDS here in the Washington DC Metro area.

This year I'm riding my bicycle to the ends of the earth to fight AIDS, will you join me?  I'll take care of the physical challenge of biking the 810 miles, but I need you in order to meet the financial goal.  Raising this much money may sound like a difficult challenge but it is nothing compared with the challenges faced each and every day by those who live with HIV and AIDS.

Will you join me in helping those who are in need?  Please search your heart and pledge the amount that's right for you – all pledges are tax deductible.  Any amount, however large, however not so large, will not only be greatly appreciated, it will be immediately put to work by the benefiting organizations to take care of real people with real needs.

You may ask yourself, why is Scott doing this?  Why ride a bicycle through the heat and humidity in June and through the mountains of Alaska?  The answer is really quite simple.  AIDS may be a powerful enemy but making this incredible commitment of time and energy by taking part in the Washington D.C. AIDS Ride and the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride you and I together can do something that will actually impact peoples' lives for the better, and isn't this what life is all about?

Thank you!!!!
Scott Meléndez
Rider 112 for the Washington DC AIDS Ride
Rider 1630 for the Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
 - Margaret Mead.


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