Gearing up to eliminate a killer

AIDS Ride participants roll into Washington

June 27, 2000|By Mia D. McNeil | Mia D. McNeil,SUN STAFF

Two women who were high school friends in Towson almost three decades ago have put their feet to the bicycle pedals to raise money for the fight against AIDS.

Danna Truslow of Rye, N.H., and Cynthia Fenneman of Kittery, Maine, took part in the four-day, 330-mile Washington, D.C., AIDS Ride 5, an effort to raise $3.2 million for organizations that assist people with AIDS. The organizations include Food and Friends, which prepares and delivers meals to homebound people with AIDS in the Washington area.

Truslow, an environmental hydrologist, and Fenneman, president of a television production company, are 1973 graduates of Towson High School.

This is the second time the classmates have participated in AIDS Ride USA. In 1998, the two rode 275 miles from Boston to New York City. "That's not too bad for two old ladies," Truslow said last week.

This year's ride began Thursday in Raleigh, N.C., and ended Sunday in Washington.

"It's amazing out here," Fenneman said in a telephone interview from Virginia Friday. "Some of the riders are dressed up in costumes, some of them have decorated their helmets with plastic fruit, stuffed animals and Barbie dolls. ... It's a very high-energy event. They just keep pumping you on."

For the two women, the cause was worth any physical pains or fatigue they suffered. "I want to make this effort in training and fund raising in order to help contain and eventually wipe out AIDS for all generations," Truslow said.

"The most compelling reason for my commitment to the AIDS Ride is a little 4-year-old girl named Kiki," said Fenneman, who met the girl while taping a video for ABC Quilts, a group that helps children with AIDS. Kiki was found to be HIV-positive shortly after birth. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

The women are already planning to take part in another AIDS ride next year. "We would love to do San Francisco to L.A., but it fills up pretty fast, so we'll have to see," Fenneman said.

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