Posted by: aidshike | July 7, 2015

Return, re-commitment, (eyes) re-opened….

Hello Shelly,

It’s been a long time since I have written here…too long. I have let AidsHIke drift off the map and felt that sadly I couldn’t pursue my dreams since my legs didn’t feel strong enough to get me there. Aids Hike’s ambitious goal – To hike the Appalachian Trail  with a diverse team of HIV+ people like myself – seemed in jeopardy. I drifted backwards in what I could do. In the year and a half before now I worked my way up from hiking a mile to 3 miles and all the way up to 7.5 miles. I felt invincible and walked or hiked almost every day (and started blogging here about those ventures) and figured that I would be able to hike long distances and overcome legs and feet that are challenged with Neuropathy and a bad back by just simple chutzpah & strong intention and endurance fueled by will power.

But sadly my Neuropathy that almost took away my ability to walk in 1997 (after I took my first HIV cocktail medications) got worse again. It scared me straight and left me humbled and feeling defeated. Instead of continuing to blog I stopped completely.  I stopped hiking and even walking due to the fact that a day of short to medium time on my feet often led to the necessity of massaging each foot and leg for an hour and using electric and manual stimulation for 30 minutes at a time. I probably still could have gone for short hikes or at least walked a mile or two once or twice a week, but I just shut down. I feared the worst but didn’t challenge myself at all. I didn’t push my body and see what I could overcome.

This went against everything that I had started Aids Hike to prove…. That with a positive attitude and a strong will to push myself I could surprise myself with what I was capable of and hopefully inspire others to push their limits and challenge themselves out of their comfort zone. I am not sure what I am capable of today, but my guess is that I can walk and/or hike much more than I think and the only problem will be that at the end of the day my legs will hurt. But in the past I have often said pain is relative. I survived Neuropathy and Shingles, Bronchitis and Pneumonia and I am still here. I have been through very serious bouts of pain and months of unknowing… if I would every walk again. I doubt that anything I experience while going for a hike will be any worse than what I have already been through.

So I return to this blog with the intention that I will start walking again and plan on going for AT LEAST a hike every few weeks with the intention of one short to medium length hike a week especially when it is summer time and there will always be times where the weather is cool and breezy in the woods.

I must challenge myself and also re-assess the goals of Aids Hike. I likely will not hike the Appalachian Trail … at least in the immediate future and likely ever … unless I do it in stages…, but I can go on local hikes in the MD/DC/VA/ Baltimore areas and start to encourage other people to join me. I can start to use Aids Hike as a platform to bring education and awareness about HIV to the forefront of many diverse audiences and I can start to raise money … even small amounts in $10 donations… and donating this money to the service providers I have already picked

I have had my eyes re-opened in reading an amazing book about an amazing man and his vision and commitment to make a difference in the world. The Promise of a Pencil is Adam Braun’s book about a non-profit of the same name. While traveling the world, Adam would drift away from the others in his group and walk a path closer to the people in the area locals. He would ask children, if you could have anything in the world what would it be and onetime a child simply said “a pencil”, others said school. By starting with just giving one child a pencil to inspire their creativity and inspiration, and ability to write for the first time, POP went on to building schools in countries and areas where there were none. His story and that of his business reminded me of the passion I first had while building my dream of Aids Hike. It reminded me of all that I learned when I studied Entrepreneurship in college.

I will start my mission again. One hike at a time. One mile at a time, one step at a time. My vision is clear, my mission is concrete and accessible. I hope others will soon follow me and want to get involved. I have never been more motivated than I am right now…but Shelly…please don’t trust these words. I have uttered similar ones before. Instead check on me in a week, in a month, next year and see if I have put this dream into action. It is by my actions that this dream will come into reality, not just in my words.


I went for a swim today. My current plan is to swim regularly. Aqua therapy is great for Neuropathy, taking pressure off my legs and feet. I look forward to going for a walk or a hike again sometime soon.

These boots are made for walking…

Moshe Mark Adler

July 7th , 2015

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