By Alex Gebhart, Senior Corps Member serving on the Spingarn High School Team
You may remember October 29th as a cold, rainy, even snowy Saturday on which you never made it out of bed. For five of my fellow corps members and I, it was a cold, rainy, snowy Saturday of inspiring service.
This year marked the 25th annual AIDS walk here in Washington, DC. The event is an all day affair with a timed 5k run followed by a walk along the same course, all to raise money to fund–and awareness for–HIV/AIDS research and prevention initiatives.
An amazing community partner, the Whitman-Walker foundation, puts on the AIDS walk. Whitman-Walker is a nonprofit community-based health organization which provides dependable, high-quality, comprehensive and accessible health care to those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. This event draws thousands of people every year, as the HIV/AIDS rate in Washington is the one of the highest in any major American city.
As corps members, we felt compelled to help, showing our support for the city we serve. The Whitman-Walker AIDS Walk was a truly inspiring event for me. We were welcomed readily by the coordinators who remembered us from past years, and immediately put to work.
Hundreds of runners and walkers showed up to give hope. We had a great time cheering on the runners. I must have given 100 high fives that day with freezing hands, but seeing the looks on the runners’ faces was warmed. We even got to see my Program Manager Nick Monts run the 5k!
After the run, our City Year group participated in the walk. Along with a multitude of other organizations, fraternities, and such groups, we walked to the Capitol Building and back to Freedom Plaza. It was a great time engaging others in physical training while we walked, and finished up by supporting the organizers in clean up.
My experience with the walk was amazing, and I am glad that I decided to serve that day. Not only did we get to support people that battle HIV/AIDS, but we also were able to excite people that came to the event. I was impressed with the turnout, and am glad that we were able to support such a great event.
This is the 25th year of the Whitman-Walker AIDS Walk, and their fund raising goal this year is $1 Million. They are just shy of that goal. If you would like to learn more about the walk or the work of the Whitman-Walker foundation, please go to their website: http://www.aidswalkwashington.org