The weatherman predicted that it would be a rainy Sunday and he was right; we had a downpour. At times, the 47,000 people who participated in this year’s AIDS Walk NY were drenched.
But many of those who sign up for this, the world’s largest AIDS fundraising event, view it as more than just a charity fund raiser. In fact, quite a few of the participants – even those who can’t raise any money at all – consider participation something akin to a sacred obligation.
Regardless of the weather, regardless of their own disabilities or discomfort, they push forward on foot, crutches and in wheelchairs, uphill and down, and they somehow manage to complete the 10 kilometer trek around Central Park.
Just past the finish line, up a little hillock, large pieces of cardboard were hung under the shelter of a white tent. There, walkers used felt-tip markers to record their reasons for walking. Thousands stood in the tent and wrote until their messages overlapped and no empty space remained.
No matter why they chose to come out and walk on a wet gray morning, their determination helped raise a total of $6,214,768 and will bring us closer to a cure for the scourge that has taken so many lives and broken so many hearts.
A walker writing on the hanging cardboard
I walk for love
I walk because I can
I walk because my two kids need to grow up
We walk for Grandma Shirley
I walked … for all those who can’t
I walk for the sake of my HIV patients
I walk for Freddie – it’s been a long 20 yrs. without you
I walk for my dad – and a cure
I walk to help others in need
We walk for all of our angels that left to soon
I walked for the ones I lost
I walk for Kenneth, John D., Michael, Bruce, John C. R.I.P.
I walked for everyone
I walk for a better world
I walk for friends & family who died or living with HIV/AIDS
I walk for life, I walk for love, I walk for my family
I walked with a reason!
I walk to make a difference
We walked to create smiles, to show that we care
I walk for Hernando, my bestie
I walk for hope
I walk in memory for all who lost their lives
I walk for my generation
I walk for my beloved mother, Damaris R.I.P.
I walk because it’s the right thing to do
I walk for my darling Francis. I love you
I walk … so my grandchildren and great grandchildren won’t have to
AIDS WALK NY