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Rack up the miles this weekend and fight HIV/AIDS: Cycle2Zero@home for mothers2mothers

From 23rd to 25th October, turn your weekend-warrior ride into a fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa

James Spender
22 Oct 2020

Tomorrow’s the weekend and with that there’s every chance you’ll get out on the bike for that serious ride. So why not make that undertaking even more serious by raising money at the same time?

From 23rd to 25th October, cyclists from around the world will be riding in a metaphorical global peloton to raise awareness and funds for mothers2mothers, the African NGO which trains and employs women living with HIV/AIDS as frontline health workers in 10 African countries. 

It’s a tough enough job for the Mentor Mothers as it is, but in the midst of Covid-19 pressure is mounting like never before, which is why mothers2mothers needs you to sign up to Cycle2Zero@home to help. 

Whether it’s for 50 miles, 75 miles or 200 miles, alone or in a group (where it's safe to do so), as a donation or as fundraising – or even if it’s just a socially-distanced spin to tell a friend about mothers2mothers’ work – it all counts.

It’ll all be done in solidarity with m2m’s Mother Mentors, women who themselves cycle miles each day to reach remote and vulnerable families to provide life-saving health services.

‘This year, 2020, has shown that behind every frontline health worker is a global community supporting them,’ says Emma France, global development and strategic engagement director at mothers2mothers.

‘This October, we are asking you to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with m2m Mentor Mothers - who I have seen countless times cycle the extra mile to reach women and children, and build a brighter, HIV-free future.

'Cycle2Zero@home is a fundraising challenge for everyone; families, individuals, or corporate teams – all you have to do is cycle (or run, walk or swim!) wherever you are and at any time over the weekend of 23rd to 25th October. Whatever you do, use your pedal power for good, help to raise crucial funds and have fun!’

Bigger than you think

So pop quiz: what’s the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic? A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread across borders; an epidemic is a rapidly spreading disease within a certain population.

Cancer affects a huge number of people worldwide but is not a pandemic since it is not an infectious disease; Covid-19 is a pandemic because, well, just look at the news. And what headlines it has grabbed. But those of a certain age will remember this isn’t the first time a pandemic has gripped the world – even if the World Health Organisation now officially calls it an epidemic.

In the 1980s, HIV/AIDS swept across the globe, and everyone from the BBC’s Michael Buerk to Fran at the photocopier was talking about it. It existed. It was in Britain. People took notice.

Then, as we are so lucky in the West that such things do, science and education came along and by the mid-90s the HIV pandemic, as the UK media saw it, was no longer a front-page concern. 

Yet for many developing nations with scant governmental medical and educational resources, HIV/AIDS remains a serious threat, and global death rates didn’t peak until 2004, with 1.4m people dying of HIV, the largest concentration of which happened in Africa. 

In fact as recently as 2017 nearly a million people a year were dying from the virus, 40% more than malaria and the 14th biggest killer worldwide. Again, a disproportionate number of these deaths happened in Africa. 

To put that in context of another pandemic we know so well, in 2020 at time of writing there have been 1.14m deaths worldwide from Covid-19 from 41.3m cases.

That’s serious stuff, but so too is the fact that across the globe now it’s estimated 38m people are living with HIV. It’s not one pandemic against another - far, far from it. But it nevertheless highlights that HIV is significant still, and its prevention and strategies for coping every bit as worthy of our attention.

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