Marvin Green took part in his first AIDS LifeWalk in Dallas in
1992, motivated by the deaths of several friends from the
On Sunday, he joined about 10,000 other participants in the 20th
annual event to raise awareness and money to help those affected
"We need the funds," Green said. "People need medicine,
counseling and education."
The sunny skies and large turnout at Lee Park in Oak Lawn
pleased organizer Raeline Nobles. About $500,000 was expected to
be raised at this year's event.
"There's great excitement in the crowd," said Nobles, executive
director of AIDS Arms. "I'm sorry we have to have a LifeWalk
every year. But there's still a stigma for people living with
The event kicked off with a 3.2-mile walk and run through
Uptown. Supporters lined Turtle Creek Boulevard and cheered as
participants crossed the finish line.
Scott Kersh, co-chairman of this year's AIDS LifeWalk, has been
involved in the event for eight years.
"We want to make a difference," he said. "We all want to be a
part whenever a cure is found."
Besides the walk, the event featured live music, food and drinks,
and more than a dozen informational booths. Children enjoyed
games, a bounce house and face painting.
"This gives a platform for all kinds of people to come together,"
Nobles said. "Five years ago, we had a goal to diversify the walk
in age, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity."
AIDS Arms organizes the event and is one of 10 nonprofit
organizations that receive funds from it, she said. The others
include AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of North Texas and
Legal Hospice of Texas.
AIDS Arms offers HIV testing, outpatient medical care, education
and support groups. Its youngest client is 13 years old and its
oldest 91, Nobles said.
"It's still a very frightening thing to tell your friends and
family that you're HIV-positive," she said. "You never know their
reaction. It's getting better because we're forcing a
conversation in the community. We've got to talk about the
reasons why we have this epidemic."
Mike D'Agostine has participated in the AIDS LifeWalk for six
years. He said he was encouraged by Sunday's large turnout and
the strides made in AIDS education and treatment.
"But there are still new infections, so there's a lot of work to
be done," he said.