“I could’ve been HIV positive,” said Mooney. “I just thank the Father that I’m not."
However, the issue is one that’s near and dear to Mooney, who lost one brother to AIDS and has another that’s been diagnosed with it.
In March, Prilosec OTC named Mooney the “Official Rower for a Cause,” awarding him with a $4,000 grant which he will put towards preparing his rowboat for the trip. "I feel this is my destiny, to complete this mission,” said Mooney, “to get as many people as possible tested for HIV/AIDS and once are tested, try to get them into care as soon as possible."
This will actually be his third attempt; the first time, his boat sank, and the second time, he couldn’t generate enough electricity for his drinking water purifier.
"I’m excited; I’ve learned so much and there’s always more to learn, but I feel much more comfortable going out again," said Mooney, who has been putting in extra workout time at the New York Sports Club in Rego Park and will start rowing in the World’s Fair Marina once the weather warms up.
He is asking New Yorkers to join him for the annual AIDS Walk in Central Park on Sunday.
“Let’s walk together to bring this disease to an end, and let’s pray to God we can find a cure for it,” said Mooney. “But until there’s a cure, I’m rowing."
Mooney invites you to send him an email and submit your name as one of the 25,000 that can fit on his 17-foot rowboat, Never Give Up. Visit www.goreechallenge.com to cheer him on in the long journey ahead.
For the chance to win resources to pursue your own passion, visit www.officialsponsor.com.