Tom Keep Co-Chair
Los Angeles, CA
I have been HIV positive for well over 25 years and have lost many friends. In a bitter sweet way it’s through the loss that I have gained so much. I participated in my first Aids ride in 2000 when I rode in CAR7. I was a TRL for CAR 8, I was a rider for ALC 6, TRL for ALC7, Rider and TRL for ALC8, and now I’m a TRL and a Roadie for ALC9. As I continue to enjoy good health I realize how important it is for me to allow others see me as a HIV positive healthy man.I work in the Health Care Profession so I know all too well that there still exists stigma. As a survivor, I feel that it’s my obligation to eliminate the stigma and bring awareness to others when I can. I still see and feel “stigmatized” sometimes in my profession so while I’m cautious, I’m as outspoken about the disease as I can safely be. To that end I hope that one day we can end the prejudice about disease.
Tim Wood Co-Chair
Los Angeles, CA
I am honored to be on the Board of Positive Pedalers, representing the greater Los Angeles area. I have been HIV+ for over 10 years. A close personal HIV+ friend invited me to ride with him on AIDS Lifecycle 5 – I took up the challenge and how now completed the last 5 ALCs (2006-2010). And this last year I also became a TRL.I was a bit reluctant to join the Pos Peds my first year…..I wasn’t sure sharing my status with others was “good thing”. But once I became a member,everything changed. The group taught me the value of putting a face on the disease and that we as a positive community would never help overcome its stigma unless we unite together and share our stories. Many of us share that understanding we may have become positive as a result of some very poor personal decisions. But we can’t allow those less-than-fortunate choices of our past define the person we are going forward. We must choose to focus on the good we wish to share & the folks in our community who need our help and support – that is why the ALC community is an inspiration. ALC and the Pos Peds are amazing people fighting a great cause & I’m proud to be part of their efforts to support the HIV+ community, eliminate stigma and teach others the power of love, grace & respect. To echo the sentiments of another board member, there is power in publicly acknowledging that I am positive and that power has helped me find the strength and courage I need to fight and live with this disease.
Mel Embree Chair, Organizational Development
Los Angeles, CA
Mel Embree became actively involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS in 2001 when he rode in California Aids Ride 8 (CAR8) in memory of a friend who had died from the disease. Two years later, Mel became a Training Ride Leader (TRL) and rode in AIDS LifeCycle 2 (ALC2). He has been a TRL and rider for every ALC since then to support all of the people he knows, and doesn’t know, who are living with HIV and AIDS. ALC 12 will be his 12th ride and 10th year as a TRL. To support the Positive Pedalers’ mission of eliminating the ignorance and fear that lead to stigmatization, Mel brings his experience as counsel to other non-profit entities and as the first Board Chair and long time board member of Youth Employment Systems, a Youth Build affiliate, providing educational and vocational opportunities to at-risk youth in the greater Los Angeles area.
Robert Suarez Chair, Merchandise
New York, NY
Robert is a native New Yorker, born and raised on Long Island and currently living in Manhattan. He tested positive in 2000 and was motivated to ride as a Positive Pedaler in his first AIDS ride (ALC 5) in 2006 when his viral level and T-cell count made it necessary for him to go on meds. Having had one of the most life changing experiences on AIDS Lifecycle, Robert was reinvigorated by the hope, love and strength of this event and made a commitment to take a more active role in the fight against AIDS. Four years later he took another step forward and applied to be a board member of the PosPeds and has been serving as such since 2010. Robert is a proud member of PosPeds and will carry forward the mission to the best of his ability.
RJ Hadley Chair, Membership & Outreach
Wilton Manors, FL
R.J. Hadley, a resident of Ft. Lauderdale Florida, found out about Positive Pedalers while on the Twin Cities > Chicago AIDS Ride, and found a group he fit in with right away. This former police officer and now ordained interfaith minister does his best in team building and presenting his healthy relationship workshops, when he’s not cyclingaround South East Florida’s sunny weather.“Being HIV positive is just a part of me and being on a board with such diverse people shows how we are all committed to Eliminating Stigma in all that we can.” As a board member, he went to see how rides around the country were alike, and how they are so different but all have the same commitment to be a force of change.
Deyon Jonson Chair, Communications
San Francisco, CA
On the weekends one will often find Deyon in Marin helping first time AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC) participants on their training rides as she volunteers as a training ride leader (TRL). She can often be spotted wearing the bright orange identifier TRL vest, or as some participants prefer to call it, the beacon of hope. Marking her 13th consecutive year as a ride participant, Deyon has joined the Board of the Positive Pedalers, with a personal aim to eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. Deyon has been riding with and supporting the Positive Pedalers for years as an HIV negative participant. She first chose to ride and “identify” as a Positive Pedaler on ALC10. It was that experience of being treated differently because of the jersey she chose to wear that convinced her that more effort was needed to remove the stigma surrounding this terrible Pandemic. Off the bike, Deyon has more than 20 years of management experience in the production industry and is currently following the shift that has occurred in how people spend their “downtime”. She is part of the new entertainment industry incorporating collaborative participation brought about by the convergence of gaming, social media, entertainment, and education.
Chris Eisenberg Web Development
Los Angeles, CA
In 2005, Chris signed up for AIDS/LifeCycle as a challenge and to support a good cause, but was convinced that she didn’t know anyone who was HIV positive. She met Paul Serchia and soon learned just how wrong she had been – and how much of a stigma there still is to living with HIV/AIDS. Throughout her first ride, watching the Positive Pedalers inspired her to conquer even the steepest hills and the longest days, and she was determined to return that favour by getting more involved. Since then, she has been training new riders (especially beginners), teaching workshops and packing clinics, organizing rides and special events, and training/mentoring new ride leaders every year. A long-time bike commuter, she loves cycling for the joy and fun and freedom it brings, the opportunity to share and teach – and to offset her other favourite hobby of baking and cooking! She is excited to join the board and the communications committee, and put her photography and media skills to good use (and bring the cookies).
T.J. Lee Chapter Coordinator
San Francisco, CA
T.J. has participated in ALC 9, 10, 11 and is signed up to ride in ALC 12. He has been a training ride leader for ALC 10, 11, 12 and Seismic Challenge 4.0. He is the Program Manager for the San Francisco HIV Health Services Planning Council at Shanti Project and he is also the creator and co-facilitator of “Jeffrey’s Place”, the Bay Area’s only Gay/Bi/Queer men’s cancer support group, started in 2009, to help support men with cancer, survivors of cancer and their caregivers. T.J.’s work within the HIV/AIDS world started over twenty-five years ago volunteering with AIDS Action Committee Boston and Fenway Community Health Center. He has also volunteered for AIDS Dance Boston, AIDS Walk Boston & SF, AIDS LifeCycle, numerous CAL AIDS Rides, the San Francisco LGBT Community Center and many other fine ASOs. He currently serves as a board member, producer and actor for Theatre Shark. He also currently is a board member of Positive Pedalers since August 2012, worked on the National Chapter Development Team in 2011-2012, and he also has been the SF Chapter Leader for PosPeds since July 2011.
Michael Melott Chapter Coordinator
I have been an active member of Team Colorado AIDS LifeCycle for 6 years, just recently moving to Team Popular. I currently live in Denver, Colorado, With my husband Robert and our three wonderful dogs – Zoie, Ollie and Sadie. I do a lot of outreach to the Gay and Lesbian community, as well as the straight Community, and look forward to building strong relationships with Poz Peds. I have been a ALC Roadie two times, an ALC Rider five times, and look forward to being an AIDS/LifeCycle rider again with my hubby this years for a total of eight ALC years in a row.
Portland, ORDavid Duncan has been on the Board since 2002, and served his first stint as Co-Chair with Wilfredo Ortiz from 2003-06. David, along with fellow Board member Scott Campbell, was a San Francisco “spokesmodel” for HIV Stops With Me, a nationwide campaign to promote the active participation of positives in preventing HIV. David worked at UC Berkeley on the design and development of campus facilities for fourteen years; in 2005 he was diagnosed with an HIV related brain disorder and went on long-term disability. David was elected to a second stint as Co-Chair along with Shirley Jaglowski at last summer’s retreat.
Beau Thomson Emeritus Member + ALC Training Ride Leader
San Francisco, CA
“I was motivated to to get involved with ALC 5 when I lost my partner Robert Hale. Now I consider this the best gift Robert ever gave me. Because of him, I’m a part of an organization that has changed my life. I am a Training Ride Leader and thrilled to be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle until there is a cure. I’m honored to be a part of such a dedicated and hardworking group of people: the Board of Positive Pedalers. For me, this is a gift that keeps on giving.”
Nathan Menard Emeritus Member
Dale Freeman Emeritus Member
San Francisco, CA
“I tested positive in 1987. I took up cycling in 1993 shortly after my wife died of HIV-related causes. I rode my first AIDS Ride in 1998, and joined the Positive Pedalers Board the following year. Positive Pedalers, like the disease that brings us together, has gone through many changes over the years, but has always remained central to my personal struggle with HIV. I’ll soon be leaving the Board, but expect to remain involved with this very valuable organization.”
Bob Katz Emeritus Member + ALC Training Ride Leader
San Francisco, CA
“I have been HIV-positive since 1981 and have known my status since 1985. I’ve been a member of Positive Pedalers since my first California AIDS Ride in 1999, and was on the Board of Pos Peds from January 2001 through December 2003. As a “Board Member Emeritus;” I stay involved by maintaining our membership roster, trying to stay in touch with our members, particularly the newer ones, by email and leading AIDS/LifeCycle training rides as a Positive Pedaler.”
Paul Serchia Past Emeritus Member
Los Angeles, CA
Paul Serchia 1958-2010 (excerpt from Paul’s obituary) A bright, beautiful flame flickered out on March 6, 2010. Paul Serchia died this morning at a convalescent facility in Los Angeles. He was 52 and had been battling cancer since being diagnosed in January 2009. At his side were his father, Paul Serchia, Sr. and his sister-in-law Lisa. HIV positive since 1999, Paul faced his HIV and cancer diagnoses without anger or self-pity. In his blog, Thinking Positive: a Blog About Cancer and AIDS he honestly and clearly chronicled his treatment and his thoughts about his life. “If you didn’t know Paul you might think he’s putting on a brave face,” said close friend and former co-worker Dean Micheli, “but that’s really him.”Despite illness that left him without the ability to speak, Paul never lost his quick wit and mastery of words. A stickler for good grammar, he never used abbreviations or short cuts in the notes he needed to write to communicate.Before his diagnosis with cancer, Paul had been living with HIV, and he was active in organizations and causes relating to AIDS. Along with his position at APLA, Paul was an active member of the Positive Pedalers, a group of HIV positive cyclists who raise awareness and funds for AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and other bicycle rides around the country and the world.Paul is survived by his father, Paul Sr., his brother Michael, a sister-in-law Lisa, and two nephews, Philip and Stephen. And Paul leaves his two best friends, Dean and Ed, who have been stalwart in their support.