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Paying tribute to Rock Hudson, Doris Day provides inspiration to AIDS LifeCycle riders

Paying tribute to Rock Hudson, Doris Day provides inspiration to AIDS LifeCycle riders

Screen legend Doris Day, now 88, surprised the nearly 3,000 AIDS LifeCycle riders and volunteers over the weekend when she sent a personal message that was read to the group during a candlelight vigil on the last night of their ride.

Day, star of such film classics as Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane and The Man Who Knew Too Much, had a friend who was riding in the 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

She had been following the progress of the world’s most successful HIV/AIDS fundraiser on and decided to send along a message of support in honor of the late Rock Hudson, her frequent co-star who died from the disease in 1985. His final public appearance (pictured) was with Day on her television show Doris Day’s Best Friends.

‘I just want to take a moment to personally thank you all for riding all those miles, and tonight for honoring those lost to AIDS, including my dear, dear friend Rock Hudson,’ she wrote. ‘It has been over 30 years since AIDS first emerged.  And that means almost 30 years since Rock was diagnosed.  It was so hard to see him taken from all of us just a little over a year later.’

‘I know many of you there have also experienced similar loss to mine,’ she added. ‘What you’re doing is so important, both to remember those gone and also to ensure those alive keep living much longer than Rock was able to.  So keep pedaling.’

Since the riders were on the beach in Ventura preparing for their final leg, Day also wrote: ‘May the winds carry you all the way to L.A., your last leg.  And on those tough hills remember one of my favorite phrases: ‘Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see…’  But I know that future WILL be brighter because of all of you.’

Below is video of Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center Executive Director Lorri L. Jean, reading the letter at the candlelight vigil as well as a video recapping the 7-day ride which raised more than $12 million.