Facing My Fundraising Fears with Facebook
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My first week of training hasn't gone exactly as planned. While I had a great long ride on Sunday (a leisurely 53-miler with my fantastic cycling buddies who I affectionately call the “Hoo-has”), I didn't get to squeeze in a single spin class or yoga session during the week as I had hoped.

Instead I focused on wrapping up my story assignments before boarding a plane on Thursday morning to head to Park City, Utah, for a short winter getaway with some dear college friends. This would be my last hurrah, I told myself, where I could eat, drink, and be merry with abandon before I truly buckle down and start training for the AIDS Lifecycle Ride (73 days away to be exact!).

To appease my deeply ingrained Catholic guilt, I reasoned with myself that training will officially begin when I get an official training plan from my coach, who I'm meeting for an assessment ride in Central Park next Friday (more on her and her 545-mile plan for me later).

To make up for neglecting my much-needed workouts, I decided to launch my fundraising page on the AIDS LifeCycle website. Truth be told, I almost didn't sign up for this event because of the minimum goal of $3,000. I've never raised this much money for anything, ever. In the past, when I've done charity events, like the MS Ride, I've just paid the minimum amount to participate (a mere $150) myself. But $3K isn't something I've got lying around. And if I did, it would kind of defeat the purpose of raising awareness for AIDS/HIV (check out these alarming facts & figures).

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My grassroots fundraising strategy was to start off with a simple announcement on Facebook that linked to my personal fundraising page. As I hit “post,” I held my breath that at least one or two close family and friends would eagerly support my little crusade. To my surprise, 10 separate people from my past and present life immediately jumped at the chance to help me give back.

It was so touching to hear from people I haven't seen in years. I couldn't believe how much people donated too. Three days after I posted my call-to-action on Facebook, I had already banked 44 percent of my goal!

And that's not the best part. My good friend and cycling buddy, Angie, (yup, she's a “Hoo-ha”) was so impressed by how quickly and painlessly I was able to raise money that she signed up to do the ride with me. I can't tell you how excited I am to share this amazing adventure with her. I can sleep a little better now knowing that no matter what happens out there on this crazy 545-mile journey, she'll be by my side keeping me focused, laughing, and moving forward.

Wanna join us? It's not too late to sign up! Check back soon for more fundraising tips and a training plan.

For daily updates on my training, follow me on Twitter @CDGoyanes.

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