“My most favorite uncle in the world started losing a lot of weight,” says Gomez, a sales and leasing sales consultant at Frontier Toyota in Valencia, California. “It came to our attention, eventually, that he had AIDS. He declined in front of our eyes, and everyone was denying what was happening.”
When a fellow cyclist told Gomez about the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, he knew it would be a meaningful way to remember his uncle.
Juan Gomez with his wife, Carmen (center) and daughter, Dorian.
“I felt a sense of relief that I could do something to help other people; and I felt I could make amends with the gay community for my past — for my young, naïve and dumb prejudices,” he says.
On June 3-9, Gomez will participate in his fifth AIDS/LifeCycle ride, which raises funds for AIDS-related services. Over the years, Gomez’s daughter and wife have joined him. This year, both of his uncle’s children will ride with him.
The seven-day, 545-mile ride takes participants from San Francisco to Los Angeles through some of the state’s most picturesque countryside. This marks the fourth consecutive year Toyota has supported the event.
“I’m humbled by the amount of love and compassion for humanity that is expressed on this ride,” Gomez says.
Frontier Toyota’s employees and owners have been among his most ardent supporters, even though he’s been at the dealership fewer than two years. And, Toyota’s corporate office last year matched his personal donation.
Toyota will have a team for the first time in 2018. Teams connect for training and help one another with fundraising before the ride. Once the ride begins, they wear team jerseys to connect, socialize and commiserate with one another.
For more information about AIDS/LifeCycle visit: