My name is Elizabeth Deshaies, Ellie for short. I grew up in a small town in NH, which has shaped who I am today in many ways. My happy, comfortable, and somewhat sheltered upbringing led me to actively seek experiences that would expose me to a wider world. That's how I ended up at Northeastern University in Boston, where I'm currently a fourth-year student majoring in International Affairs. It's also how I ultimately ended up on the FACE AIDS 2012 Ride Against AIDS team.
My interest in global health was sparked by an internship that I completed at an organization called Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) in 2011. At PHR, I had the opportunity to work with students and health professionals from across the country committed to promoting the human right to health and fighting inequities in all aspects of health and healthcare delivery. After immersing myself in issues related to global health at PHR, I was able to witness firsthand the effects that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has had on South Africa during the summer of 2011. My experiences in the classroom, in the workplace, and abroad are what consequently led me here, to the Ride Against AIDS, and I'm so glad they did.
As for the physical aspect of the Ride, well, I have always liked a challenge. Whether that challenge was beating my older (and taller!) brother in a race, learning to figure skate, or completing my first half-marathon, I have always been active (and, as my older brother can attest to, more than a little competitive). I'm excited for the new challenges, both physical and mental, that the Ride will bring, although the challenges that we face on the road will be nothing compared to the challenges faced each day by millions of people living with HIV/AIDS.
I encourage you to learn about the cause and of course to follow along with our progress on the road as we embark on this incredible journey. If you have comments or questions about the Ride, or just want to chat about the HIV/AIDS pandemic or global health in general, please don't hesitate to contact me at elliedeshaies [at] gmail.com.