A special performance of a popular East Bay show will benefit AIDS/LifeCycle and a group of San Ramon cyclists.
Talk to husband and wife team Jan Wexner and David Haya, and their enthusiasm for raising money for great causes will have you reaching for your checkbook. This passion worked well on recruiting 19 team members including fellow San Ramon residents Larry Fong, Jeff Williams, Ben Ly and many more fellow PG&E employees, the PG&E Power Pedalers, to ride the 545-mile, seven-day bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles from June 2 through June 8 to raise funds and awareness for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Helping with the cause is Vicki Brooks, creator of the popular Reel Blondes, the longest-running original musical comedy in the East Bay. Proceeds from "Back to the Roots!" on March 2 in the Village Theatre at 233 Front St. in Danville will benefit AIDS/LifeCycle. The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person and must be bought by calling 925-833-8831 or contacting Wexner at Hayawex@comcast.net. No tickets will be sold online for this benefit event.
Wexner and Haya, who met in 1986 while attending Dublin High School, are no strangers to the benefit ride and personal loss due to HIV and AIDS. Last year they raised $11,000 to help find a cure for a disease that has taken several close friends, including Wexner's dance partner at the Oakland Ballet who died in 1985 and her junior prom date at Dublin High School who later became an Army nurse and contracted AIDS after being poked with a needle.
They train all year with rides all over the Bay Area and do cross-training with weight lifting, spin classes and swimming to prepare for the 50 to 107 miles a day they will cover in the LifeCycle. They say they ride for awareness.
"So many people think (AIDS) is a gay thing and not a problem. They don't realize it is still problem and a cure has yet to be discovered," says Wexner.
The couple comes back to the ride year after year. Their daughter, Emilia, 24, volunteers as part of the lunch crew on the ride.
"It feels good doing for other people," explains Wexner. Doing for others includes raising funds for other organizations including cycling events for Alameda Meals on Wheels, Relay for Life, the Tahoe Ride to Cure Diabetes and the Waves to Wine ride that benefits MS research. They have also hosted exchange students, coached youth sports teams and worked as Boy Scout and Girl Scout volunteers.
They are particularly excited about booking the benefit show of "Reel Blondes," and they see the community event as another opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the cause. The evening's show will also feature extra fun such as raffle prizes for massages, haircuts, workouts, two "Selling on eBay" classes offered by Dublin resident Shari Smith, Greek Theatre tickets, Great American Music Hall tickets, wine and more.
"It's thrilling to be in the sun and wind and riding," says Haya. "You see a lot of beautiful scenery, and it's a heck of a lot faster than walking," he adds. Despite the sometimes grueling distance, altitudes or hills, Haya says the people involved in the rides and the generosity and friendliness of people along the route make it fun and entertaining at each rest stop and at the end of the day. After six years of being involved in LifeCycle, they say they have "a whole community of friends." "I wish everyone could try it (riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle) and give back to something and help another person," says Haya.
"It's very rewarding to know you are helping someone. AIDS is not gone," adds Wexner.
For more information about the ride, visit www.aidslifecycle.org.
Contact Monica Lander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Benefit performance of Reel Blondes' "Back to the Roots!" Proceeds will benefit AIDS/LifeCycle.
When: 8 p.m. March 2
Where: Village Theatre, 233 Front St. in Danville.
Cost: Tickets are $35 per person. Call 925-833-8831 or Hayawex@comcast.net for tickets. No online tickets are available.