Off and on through the years you will see me mention Camp Benedict. This is a camp for people infected and families affected by AIDS. The camp, the cause, really came into focus for me in 2009, when my cousin invited me to do a 150 mile 2-day bike ride with him and his wife for AIDS. Honestly…. I didn’t know a thing about AIDS. I just wanted to ride my bike 150 miles.
I met the coordinator of this local bike ride, Connie Statz. Connie contacted AIDS in the early 80’s from an emergency blood transfusion. This woman, was a 30 year+ AIDS survivor, and had a heart of gold for people with AIDS. She had more energy and more spunk then almost anyone I know.
Connie lost that battle in July of 2015.
After that first year riding in the Minnesota AIDS trek, I went on in 2010 to ride a second time. It was on that ride that I felt that Connie’s story was the one I was meant to write. It took me, ummmmm….. about three months later to ask her if I could write her story.
She said yes.
Now, in 2016, I will be participating in my 6th year with the Camp Benedict ride this fall. I meet with Connie as we can around out busy schedules and I record her, take notes, read books, and watch movies, to fully emerge myself in the life Connie has led, the life that was chosen for her, and instead of crumbling, she rose out of the circumstances as a remarkable woman who embraces whatever is sent her way with grace and love and determination.
Well in seven years a lot has changed. Throughout this journey I have met some amazing and wonderful people who have huge hearts and a desire to survive. Its a curve in the road that I did not foresee coming, but I am so happy I found it.
I write about my connection to the camp here.
At any time, if you feel called to donate to this remarkable Camp, please do so here.