Sophomore Tori Knapp was driving to cross country practice one August afternoon two years ago when they came to the realization that they would be eligible to participate in the next AIDS/LifeCycle fundraising event. The event—which has an age requirement of 18—takes place in June, and Knapp’s birthday is in February.
The LifeCycle is a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles that helps people affected by HIV/AIDS by raising money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Knapp had eagerly waited to participate in it for nine years.
“All these people were clearly super excited to be there, but ride-out day is also very somber,” Knapp said. “The ceremony is all about why you’re riding and where the money that you’ve raised is going. It’s heavy stuff, but it’s also a liberating feeling. I remember being nine years old and thinking, ‘Wow, this is cool. I want to do this one day.’”
Knapp has raised over $26,000 in their lifetime and has a goal of raising $5,000 more this year.
Most people donate by clicking the link below, but Knapp has also collected donations in the past through bake sales and giving out homemade fudge.
The most fulfilling part of the LifeCycle for Knapp is helping people in need, but they said the sights and sounds of the California Coastal Trail are up there as well. On the first day of the tour, the pack rides from San Francisco to Santa Cruz.
“You’re coming up this huge hill called Devil’s Slide, and you’re coming through the mountain like its been cut,” Knapp said. “You suddenly see the ocean, and it is absolutely gorgeous. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are there handing out strawberries to everyone, and there’s a band that dresses up as lumberjacks and plays music. I love that.”
While Knapp often has a team of supporters at each fundraiser they participate in, the San Francisco native said the family-like feel they get on the cross country and track and field team is one of a kind.
“I love my team so much,” Knapp said. “I don’t think I could express just how much I truly love all of them. Everybody is so supportive and cares so much about you in all regards, not just running. They care about you as a full person.”