Happy Birthday, Janet! It’s my sister’s birthday and our little family is gathering to celebrate her awesome 56 years! I bet my parents can’t believe their children are all in the 50s and that they are turning 80 this year! And then there’s always the bittersweetness that our younger brother isn’t here to celebrate with us and his birthday is just a few weeks after my sister’s. But today we’re celebrating Janet.
Janet has the dubious honor of being the middle child. She’s 18 months younger than me and two years older than our brother. Even though we represented the majority gender among the siblings, she often sided with my brother opposing the wiser, even if more bossy, sister. I considered it diplomacy, she might tell you it was co-dependency (smile).
She’s also the athlete among us. She played sports all through school, including college. Not the usual sports like softball and track, but field hockey and rugby! That’s probably why she can just jump on her bike and do a 100 mile bike ride having not ridden in months!
Two years ago she rode the 330-mile NorCal AIDS Cycle (NCAC) raising awareness and money for HIV/AIDS services in the Sacramento area. She rode with Team CARES, the organization that my oldest son plugged into when he was diagnosed with HIV in 2010. She raised $3,000 her first year riding and $5,500 last year.
This year, however, when it came time to register and begin her fundraising efforts, she wasn’t sure her heart was in it. It had been a tough year with our brother’s death. Plus she’s a nurse at the UC Davis Medical Center hospital and has crazy 12-hour shifts that make it difficult to join in on training rides.
With all of the excitement building about this being NCAC’s tenth year and the weather also getting nicer, she was feeling a little sadness about not participating. That’s when she decided to join in on the 100-mile training ride! If she survived and had a good time, she’d register and start her fundraising. Needless to say, she not only survived, but started getting donations right away. Now she’s hooked.
This year she’s riding with a new team, Team Sunburst, as part of the NCAC ride and her goal is to personally raise $5,000. Sunburst is an organization that benefits from funds distributed through NCAC. They’ve been providing support services for children, youth, and adults living with HIV/AIDS since 1988. It’s personal and a powerful statement for many riders on her team.
I am so proud of her and all her efforts. Of course, this is also my shameless plug for you to contribute to her cause. You may not know it, but you probably know someone somewhere who is living with HIV. It’s even likely they may not even know it.** Even though the money raised through Janet goes to services in the Sacramento area, consider it pay-it-forward karma for where you are (big smile). Here is the link to her donation page.
So Jani, happy, happy birthday! You may be the younger and more athletic sister, but I’m still younger-looking! I love you!! ~ Ninna
**About 16% of people living with HIV in the US do not even know it. In 2010, the estimated number of new HIV infections was highest among 25-34 year-olds (31% or about 14,500 individuals), followed by individuals 13-24 year-olds (26% or 12,200 individuals).