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Matt's Ride for HIV

Angus Morgan

29 September, 2014

Matt Perry Ride for HIV

When Matt Perry was recently diagnosed with HIV he was thankful for the love and support he knew he could count on from family and friends.

But the 32-year-old couldn’t help thinking about others also living with HIV who would benefit if medical researchers could find a cure.

Matt has set himself a challenge that transcends his comfort zone and decided to raise money for HIV research underway at Burnet Institute.

The ‘Ride for HIV’ takes place on 21 November through the city and suburbs of Perth.

He will ride a testing 200km course that will take him to each of the 14 Escape Travel stores in the Perth metropolitan area.

Matt, a consultant with Escape Travel, has affectionately coined the trip the ‘Tour de ET’.

“I can’t remember the last time I was on a bike, so I knew that a 200km ride would be a big challenge,” Matt said.

“A lot of my friends and family have gone, ‘you’re nuts for doing it!’

“I chose a Friday during business hours so I could go into each store when I get to it and say g’day to the staff and get them a bit more involved.

“If they’re the ones donating I want them to feel a part of it, not just handing over some money, I really want them to feel a part of it.”

Matt said he tested positive to HIV after going in for his regular check up.

“I was feeling a little bit under the weather and had the regular tests and the doctor called me and said I should come in for a chat,” he said.

“And that’s when he told me I was positive.

“I went through all the emotions, ups and downs … but I looked at it in a positive way in terms of ‘I’ve been given a life sentence, not a death sentence’.

“I thought, OK, I’ve had the utmost support from friends and family … not only just being a gay male, because it’s not a virus that effects only the gay community, it’s one that can affect heterosexual people as well.

“I thought, how can I contribute to trying to find a cure or prevent it from progressing to prevent someone else from going through it and not having that support to get them through it.”

Matt will have a support vehicle for the ‘Ride for HIV’ and will be accompanied by friends on different stages of the ride.

Supporters will be able to follow Matt’s progress via a live GPS tracker on Facebook, and he’ll be posting regular updates.

“The guys who’ve been setting me up said the hardest part for me is when I get to about 120km,” he said.

“They said at that point you’ll feel like you just want to get off, but it’s not like I’m in a race.”

“The challenge for me will be to complete the 200km and raise as much as I can because people don’t believe that I can actually do it.”

You can support Matt’s ‘Ride for HIV’ and Burnet’s work by donating online.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Paul Rathbone

Executive General Manager, Public Affairs & External Relations

Telephone

+61392822113

Email

paul.rathbone@burnet.edu.au

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