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Endorphin Rush: A Chat with Physical Challenge Activist Kristofer Velasquez

Endorphin Rush: A Chat with Physical Challenge Activist Kristofer Velasquez

A physical challenge activist for over four years and part of Team BRAKING AIDS® for two; Kristofer Velasquez is running 13.1 miles to benefit Housing Works on March 16 at the NYC Half-Marathon, and will bike 285 miles in September as part of our BRAKING AIDS™ Ride. We recently spoke to Kristofer about his motivation for participating in these challenges.

Housing Works: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kristofer Velasquez: I was born and raised in Sacramento, California. I attended UC Berkeley, and lived in San Francisco for a few years after college. I moved to New York in 2005, and have worked for the department store Lord & Taylor for 8 years. I am currently the Buyer of Ladies Better Sportswear. I have been a Brooklyn resident for 6 years, and love my Clinton Hill neighborhood. Beyond work, my life is filled with books and bikes, and the beach in the summer.

HW: How did you hear about Housing Works?
KV: The start of my journey to Housing Works was via AIDS LifeCycle, a 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I rode in the LifeCycle in 2010 and 2011 as a promise to a newly HIV Positive friend. By 2012, I was ready for a new experience, and attended a BRAKING AIDS® Ride Preview (then Braking the Cycle). It was the first time that I had really heard of Housing Works. The more I learned about Housing Works, its history and its community outreach, the more I loved it. In September of 2012 I rode in my first BRAKING AIDS® Ride, 280 miles over 3 days from Boston to New York, and had an amazing experience. It was so wonderful to ride along side Charles King, Housing Works board members, clients, and volunteers. Everyone from Housing Works was so genuinely grateful to the riders. Those 3 days simply radiated positive energy and a sense of community. By dinner of day #2, I was signed up for for the following year. In 2013 I became a Training Ride Leader, and organized monthly group training rides from March to September. I also returned to the California AIDS ride last year, so my Summer was book-ended by two incredible journeys on my bike fighting AIDS. My second Braking AIDS Ride was even more special than the first. I know that #3 is going to be amazing.

HW: You are participating not only in the NYC Half Marathon AND Braking AIDS Ride. Color us impressed. What is it about physical challenge fundraising that (pardon the pun) moves you?
KV This year on top of the 2 rides, I have signed up for the NYC Half-Marathon as part of Team Braking AIDS. I am a new runner, and it is exciting and scary to take on a new challenge. One of my life goals is to give back more to my community. It’s tough to find time to volunteer on a regular basis, but I believe that if I can tackle 2 or 3 really big events every year, then I am making a difference. I truly believe that we are going to see an end to AIDS in our lifetime, and I want to be able to look back and know that I played a small part.

HW Many of our physical challenge participants say they are participating in honor of someone. Is the same true for you?
KV I bike, run, and raise money as part of Team BRAKING AIDS® for all of my HIV Positive friends, more than I can count on both hands. I know that if we had been born a generation earlier, they would have died from AIDS. I want them all to stay healthy and happy.

Help Kristofer reach his $3,500 BRAKING AIDS® Ride fundraising goal, donate today.

To register or for more info about BRAKING AIDS® Ride, visit, or contact Blake Strasser at or 212-989-1111.

For more info about physical challenge events and other opportunities to support Housing Works, including the NYC Half-Marathon and NYC Triathlon, contact Dan Wilson at or 347-473-7454. You can also sign up for the email list online at:

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