Why I walk… I walk because 18 years ago I did my first volunteering for an AIDS charity here in DC. I worked for a progressive company, led by a progressive woman named Anita Roddick, who believed that business should give back to the community in meaningful and sustainable ways. As part of my work I delivered food to people who where home-bound and often bed-bound due to AIDS. For an 18 year old this opened up my eyes to the physical devastation and trauma of the disease. It also opened my eyes to the social biases and prejudices related to HIV/AIDS, including stigma, discrimination and ignorance, related to lifestyle, sexuality, economics, class, race, etc. Many of the people I worked with in the beginning were too frail to even lift themselves out of bed to answer the door. Many of these brave souls passed within weeks of meeting them. Later that year I was sent to Romania to work in orphanages with many children who were HIV+. These experiences were sobering and permanently changed the direction of my own path!
Why I walk…I walk because as a AIDS-advocate, social worker, and psychotherapist, I’ve worked with a lot of people who have struggled with the virus. I walk for each person who has died of this disease. I also walk for each person who has had to strive, struggle, and survive with the disease. I walk for each person who has felt lost, isolated, and in chaos because of their diagnosis. I walk for each immigrant new-comer who I helped in my early years from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, who struggled to understand the health infrastructure of a new country, as well as how to manage this complicated disease. I walk for each grandmother, who never expected that HIV was a virus they could catch. I walk for each addict who has avoided their sorrow of diagnosis by deepening their addiction and I also walk for each addict who has also pulled themselves out of their addictive abyss to find clarity in recovery. I walk for all of my friends who have been diagnosed and have surprised me with their resolution and ability to reorganize their lives for the virus. I walk for my own cousin who died of complications related to the virus and heroine addiction, but no one in the family knew until after his death. I walk for each daughter, mother, son, father, grandchild, friend, who I’ve had to counsel and support. I walk for each person who sat in my office facing their own mortality and has later lost the struggle. I also walk for each person who has sat in my office and faced their fear of their mortality and has bravely found a path to live with more health and abundance. I walk because it matters. It matters to someone.
I ask for your help to help me walk, because your help matters. Please help support AIDS Walk and Whitman-Walker Health by contributing now: http://www.kintera.org/faf/
donorReg/donorPledge.asp? ievent=1010031&lis=1& kntae1010031= AF03D14513EE49249232B217CC053A 7D&supId=336086023
Please join our Second Sunday charity class at Tranquil Space on October 14th from 3:30-4:30pm. All of the proceeds go directly to the DC AIDS Walk. Sign up here…
Or join us for the walk: DC AIDS Walk on October 27th, 2012
Love + Light,