|My Siblings: Dan the Ironman to my right|
Yes, I am at it again. This is Bracelet of Hope's sixth Falling Leaves event. Last year, I cycled 100 km and raised just over $11,000. I am now approaching 54 years of age. I was hoping to decrease my cycling goal and my fundraising goal but my twin brother, Dan, did something amazing last weekend. He completed the Mont-Tremblant Ironman. Ok, lets break that down a bit: that's a 4 km swim, a 180 km cycle AND a marathon. He started at six in the morning and finished up just after 7pm that evening. He was back to work within 48 hours with barely a sore muscle. That's what five years of training and a gut full of perseverance will do for even a "passed middle-aged" body! There is a video of him crossing the finish line that I must have watched 20 times last week. He looks strong. As he crossed, he punched the air with both fists, twice. I have known my brother for a long time but I have never seen him that happy.
If he can do that, then I can keep going. I have been an HIV physician for 27 years. I have watched on from the beginning of the pandemic and treated thousands and thousands of patients. And here we are, at the dawn of a cure. What a privilege it has been to watch the world unite behind the common cause of ending the AIDS pandemic. On September 7th, I will return to Lesotho after a three and a half year pause. These were not easy years but I survived them. Now it is time to head back to this beloved mountain kingdom in southern Africa and put the final pieces in place to bring treatment and the cure to thousands of people.
I can't cycle in Lesotho so my training on the bike will be put on hold. I can hike and the altitude is high. I am bringing 7 team members with me and I have strongly recommended that each bring a good pair of hiking shoes because we are climbing mountains! In honour of my brother Dan and a little guy named Khotso, I will cycle 100 km when I return and top it off with a very slow 5 km run. Bracelet of Hope has raised over $4 million in the last 11 years. We have supported so many people, started many important projects and kept 40 foster kids clothed and fed. I am very proud of what we have accomplished but I am not done yet. Help me assist Lesotho in getting ready for the cure. It is just on the horizon and our new healthcare strategy will help thousands not only survive AIDS but be cured of it.
|Khotso: We will never forget|
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Anne-Marie Zajdlik MD CCFP O. Ont. MSM
Founder Bracelet of Hope