Whether you’ve attempted a sporting challenge yourself or supported others doing it, it can be an incredible feat. Doing it for charity helps your motivation throughout the challenge but what if the charity is part of your life? We spoke to our customer Steve Bamford, who has done this not just once but multiple times. The most recent of which for the charity i care who help those that are HIV+ to live everyday life.
Having previously cycled from Lands’ End to John O’Groats on three separate occasions, Steve has turned towards a challenge closer to home; cycling around his home county of Kent.
On his journey, he is set to pass 16 different locations of the NHS trust over the 4-day challenge. As Steve explains, it not only helps to keep him fit but also gives him the ability to raise money that he can see directly help the people around him. It is particularly important to Steve to raise awareness of what it is like to live with HIV when you don’t live in a major city, and help is less readily accessible.
"I feel like I'd be hiding a massive part of me if I wasn't open about being HIV+"
Part of the Steve's mission is to educate around HIV medication and transmission. From a study in 2021 by the National Aids Trust¹, only 16% of people surveyed were aware treatment stops HIV from being transmitted. The risk of transmission to others is zero which gives people with HIV and their partners great reassurance to live a normal life. But the stigma still attached to HIV is prevalent today, a lot of which comes from a lack of awareness and teaching on the topic. Steve’s challenges aim to express exactly that, despite being HIV+ he can live a healthy, normal life.
"If I was to have one comment around HIV and my challenge, is that if it just changes one person’s view on HIV, or updates one person’s knowledge then I have achieved my aim, education and awareness are the only way to challenge stigma."
Steve's tour is taking place from the 6th to the 9th of September and will be creating videos along the way to help spread his message.
CAE are helping Steve by sponsoring him and supporting his cause and giving another platform from which to speak. To support Steve’s upcoming challenge please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/steve-bamford4
To learn more on i care visit:https://www.kentcht.nhs.uk/about-us/our-charity/