For the 22nd time in as many years, Houstonians come together to support the fight against HIV and AIDS with AIDS Foundation Houston’s AIDS Walk Houston. Presented by AIDS Foundation Houston and Marathon Oil Corporation, the noncompetitive walk helps increase community awareness and educate Houstonians about HIV/AIDS, and helps fund local AIDS service organizations’ programs.
Angiela Zielinski, chief executive officer for AFH, said that one of the more dramatic aspects of the walk is the strength of people with AIDS who participate, as well as walkers who come out each year in memory of a loved one lost to or living with HIV/AIDS.
“My mouth just drops open when I see everyone gathered around the dais, and the diversity in the crowd—the GLBT community, families, the elderly, everyone that you can imagine,” Zielinski said. “We feel a lot of love in the park on that day.”
In 2010, more than 10,000 people participated in the walk, raising approximately $750,000 for AFH and the walk’s multiple partners. Beneficiaries of the 2011 walk, in addition to AFH, include Baylor College of Medicine Teen Health Clinic, Bering Omega Community Services, Brentwood Community Foundation, The Center for AIDS Information and Advocacy, Houston Buyers Club, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program Inc., Lazarus House, Legacy Community Health Services, Live Consortium, and Resurrection MCC.
Teresa, a DJ with FM 94.5–The Buzz, acts as grand marshal for the walk, heading up the walk’s largest team, the “Half-Fast” team.
“We appreciate everyone who shows up that day to walk in support of our work,” Zielinski said. “I hope the beautiful day we ordered arrives on time!”
The walk steps off March 13, 9 a.m., from Sam Houston Park, downtown, with registration at 8 a.m. aidswalkhouston.org.—Nancy Ford