Team Impact - 7331
Our team is participating in this year’s AIDS Walk Los Angeles, a 10K fundraising walk to fight the epidemic. Please join us or donate today! Every dollar we raise helps APLA Health stop new infections and support people living with HIV/AIDS.
Dare to be an impact ~ Help me fight for a cure!
My reason for walking the last 23 years
Over the years I've learned that some people work through the pain of losing a loved one by talking about them and remembering the good times, others shed a lot of tears, and still others bottle up those tears forever. My tribute to them is to share my feelings and reflections of them in my writing and by donating my time to the cause.
I was a senior in High School when I found out my Uncle Jimmy was HIV positive. The world was in the midst of a catastrophic epidemic that not only carried with it death and disease but fear and humiliation as well. I was careful to disclose this information to very few close friends; you know who you are.
There were so many stigmas and panic surrounding the disease that misinformation abounded; some people still thought that AIDS could be contracted from sitting on a toilet seat. It was painful to watch my vibrant and boisterous uncle deteriorate as this disease progressed into AIDS and eventually caused him to succumb to the disease on April 20, 1995. We (my Grandmother, Mother, both sisters and I) were his caregivers and took turns each day to care for his every need. I lost my uncle to AIDS over 23 years ago, yet the pain of my loss is still as fresh in my mind and heart as it was the day it happened. His hands, his smile, and his boisterous laugh are the things that have stayed with me through the years. He influenced and loved so many people and he had a profound impact on me. I watched helplessly as my family sank into a depression from which we have still not fully recovered.
After my uncle's death, I was struggling with my loss and had no one to talk to about this devastating experience. I didn't even know anyone who would even begin to understand the pain that my family and I were going through. Fortunately, I discovered the APLA Bereavement Counseling group in North Hollywood. I became involved a group that was predominantly gay and made up of people who had lost their partners to AIDS. Joining this group was the best thing I could have done after losing my uncle. This group helped me to begin the healing process and to become a more active participant in the community that was so dear to my beloved uncle.
Uncle Jimmy walks with me every day, in every decision I make, and in every possible way. I walked him through his last breath, and I hope when it is my time he will be by my side to walk with me through mine. My hope is that I can be half as amazing as my Uncle Jimmy and that my presence on this earth benefits others in some small way. I want the people I leave behind to be better off because they knew me and hope that I can influence them in a positive way.
Participating in AIDS Walk Los Angeles has helped me heal and honor Uncle Jimmy's memory with the entire AIDS Walk Los Angeles community. As I walk with tens of thousands of people every year, my belief grows stronger that we can make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.
We walk for those who can no longer walk with us!