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This Dad Biked Over 500 Miles For The Son He Lost To AIDS

David Flanagan hopes he can help raise awareness around the importance of early treatment of HIV and AIDS by sharing his own personal story.

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David Flanagan recently biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles as a part of the AIDS/LifeCycle fundraiser in honor of his son Joshua, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 28 after being diagnosed with HIV.

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This father from Clifton, Texas, isn't the most likely candidate for a seven-day endurance ride that covers over 500 miles.

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The AIDS LifeCycle fundraising event occurs every year, bringing in over 2,500 riders and countless "roadies" bonded together in "a common desire to do something heroic."

Flanagan was followed on his ride by YouTuber Davey Wavey, who hoped his story would inspire others.

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"Given that my audience is young gay men and that HIV and AIDS disproportionately impact our community, I immediately knew it was a story that I needed to cover," Wavey told BuzzFeed News of his decision to ride along with Flanagan.

According to AIDS.gov, a healthy number of CD4 (T cells) in an adult ranges from 500 to 1,200 cells/mm3. Joshua's count came back as only 2.

Tracking CD4 levels in a patient's blood is one way to determine when HIV has developed into AIDS. When a patient's levels drop below 200 cells/mm3, the disease has progressed to stage 3, or AIDS.

Eventually deemed healthy enough to go home, Joshua was discharged from the hospital. Only a little over 24 hours later, his parents would receive word that their son's heart had stopped.

Learn more about the AIDS/LifeCycle event here.

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