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Dallas Morning News

AIDS walk is a gift to those in need of help




 

Marvin Green took part in his first AIDS LifeWalk in Dallas in 1992, motivated by the deaths of several friends from the disease.

On Sunday, he joined about 10,000 other participants in the 20th annual event to raise awareness and money to help those affected by HIV.

"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 AIDS."

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.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in October 11, 2010. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.