During the month of March, Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy® will be accepting donations on behalf of Hill Country Ride for AIDS. This is an organization that is of tremendous support in our local community helping people who are living with HIV and AIDS to give them a better quality of life, medical care, housing and food.
The Austin comic and gaming community is responsible for making Dragon’s Lair the warm and welcoming place it has been for over 30 years We recognize that owing our success to the strength of the community means it is important and vital to find ways to give back. We don’t see giving to organizations such as Hill Country Ride for AIDS as an obligation, we see it as an honor. This organization has raised over $8.5 million over the last 18 years. That money has been dispersed to smaller, more specialized organizations such as Out Youth, Waterloo Counseling Center and Project Transitions.
I will never forget driving the long trip out to the hill country to set up a Popsicle stand the first year we worked with HCRA. It was incredibly hot, and I was standing on the side of country road with a plastic table and ice chests full of popsicles alone.
And then something magical happened – riders started showing up. We were the last stop on what they refer to as the century ride, meaning 100 miles. These riders are not messing around. One by one they slowed and stopped for one last respite on their long journey. One older gentleman took a break and we began to chat about the ride and the conversation turned to the fact that I was with Dragon’s Lair. He said something to the effect of “Wow, you guys came out of nowhere and raised a ton of money for HCRA.” I told him that we were happy to help any way we could and that organization’s mission was something we really believed in.
Then I asked him what made him want to do the 100 mile race. He said “I do it because I can.” He then told me about how he had found out he was HIV+ in the late 1990’s and that for few years he really struggled with his health and that it caused him to miss work and he began to struggle to make ends meet.
Only a couple years later HCRA had their first ride with great success and that within a year or two he was able to apply to get help from some of the organizations that they support. I just stood there with tears in my eyes. Here was a man that was literally saved from homelessness and possible death because of HCRA. He noticed that I had started to cry and before I knew it he was giving me a big bear hug. He then stepped back and said “Thank you. You guys don’t realize how much good you are doing just by getting donations.”
That moment has stayed with me for several years now. And now, each year we start taking donations I am determined to surpass our previous fundraising level from last year because I know how much we have the power to change and possibly save lives by simply asking someone to make a small donation.
The power of a community rests in its connections and the way we take care of each other. In this small way, we as a comic and gaming community can give back to the wider community with the help of our employees and customers. During the month of March I humbly ask that you consider making a donation when you come in to the store to visit us. Small donations combine to make a big difference in the lives of our fellow Austinites.
Check out some statistics below about how far your money will go:
- $35.00 – This is enough to pay for one HIV test.
- $60.00 – This will provide one month of food for an emergency food pantry.
- $120.00 – This gives one hour of counseling to someone affected by HIV/AIDS.
- $250.00 – This provides 7 hours of outreach to locate out-of-care HIV+ individuals.
- $500.00 – This provides one month of support for residential living costs for one family!
Thanks for your consideration.