Saturday was the 23rd Palm Springs Desert Aids Project AIDS Walk. It was a 5K walk or a 5K run. I know, most AIDS Walks are 10K walks. This is Palm Springs where it’s hot & many of its residents are retired. 5 kilometers is a long walk for we old folk when it’s hot.
My Husband and I have been participating in AIDS Walks in Los Angeles since the AIDS Project Los Angeles walks first began. We both worked in Healthcare and it just seems the right thing to do. We always walked with the employee group from my husband’s hospital and it is always a party atmosphere. Although we’ve not walked for several years.
This year, living in Palm Springs, we decided to participate since friends are involved in the event organization and the walk was only 5K. Besides that, the event was held three blocks from the house. Parking was a non-issue. AND my husband’s clinic pulled together a walking team of 40 or 50 walkers.
This year, the Desert AIDS Project saw the largest contingent of walkers in its 23 year history. There were over 1,000 participants and we raised over $100,000.00 for DAP. My husband alone raised over $2,000.00!
My husband is an extrovert. I am in introvert. While he was working the crowd, taking with and meeting everyone at the pre-walk events, I spent my time observing crowd. There were children walking. There were gay men & women. There were families. The Mayor of Palm Springs, Steve Pougnet, was there. Mayor Pougnet was #1 in the 5K run and was the first runner/walker across the starting line.
While my husband was working the crowd, I listened to the speakers, checked out the booths and chatted with friends. I thought about the prior 25+ years of AIDS Walks we’ve done. I got to thinking of all the friends I’ve lost through AIDS and the number of quilts I’ve made for the Quilt Project. So many friends. Gone. And I began to cry.
I hate these AIDS Walks. I can’t NOT participate. And I hate them. It tears my heart open every year thinking of friends lost, lives cut down far to soon. We need to find a cure.
No commercial this week… just, please remember and think about everyone you’ve lost to this terrible disease.
Thank you for listening,
Jerry L. Hanson