Aids Walk Philly kicked off its annual event at 8 a.m. outside the famous Art Museum steps on Sunday, Oct. 20.
People of all ages, genders, races, shapes and sizes were in attendance. And everyone had their own special reasons for being there.
Many families and friends of victims came out to support the cause and to pay tribute to their loved ones. Others were there simply because they wanted to help.
“This may sound wrong, but it makes me feel good about myself, too”, said walker Keri Smith.
Before the walk commenced, names of Aids victims were announced, poetry was read, and gospel was sung.
Several stars from the daytime soap opera “Passions” were on hand to help everyone stretch and prepare for the journey ahead of them.
At 10 a.m. the bell was sounded and thousands of people began to work their way around the Art Museum, each at his own pace.
There were several options to choose from.
You could run, walk, or stroll.
The traditional 12k (8.4 miles) walk was the most popular, but there were some that chose to “go the extra mile,” and run the 10k.
Families with small children were recommended to do the one-mile stroller.
No matter which path you took you were sure to encounter smiling faces happy to help fight for the cause.
To make the trip up Kelly Drive and West River Drive a little more pleasurable, some of Philly’s best bands were stationed every couple of miles to soothe the side stitches of the walkers, runners and strollers and put a bounce back in their collective step.
There was everything from Brown Sugar, Ten Spiders, and Fishtown Rodeo to Elaysha, Fandango and Off the Beat.
Attendance has still not been tallied but it is estimated that over 800 teams registered for the walk.
That doesn’t include the countless numbers of individuals who walked.
Temple had quite a presence on Sunday with a whopping 47 different teams under the Temple group.
Teams included sororities and fraternities like Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Gamma Iota Sigma, Sigma Gamma Rho, and Lambda Kappa Sigma.
Other Temple teams included TUGSA, TSG, S-FLAG, Temple Lambda Alliance, Main Campus Program Board, Peabody Hall, Temple Towers, and W.H.I.P.
There were many other universities and organizations that also came to “walk the Walk.”
The numbers say it all.
Approximately $500,000 was raised the day of the walk and $92,667 was raised prior to Sunday. Donations are still pouring in.
This money will do wonders to help the fight against HIV/AIDS, but there is still an ongoing need.
The AIDS Fund is the top fundraiser for AIDS relief in the Philadelphia area.
They provide education, prevention programs, community outreach and direct care for the 30,000 people in the Philadelphia region who are infected with HIV.
If you would like to make a donation to help support the AIDS Fund contact them at 1227 Locust St Philadelphia, PA 19107 or call 215-731-WALK.
Milli Prothero can be reached at Bobhope@temple.edu