I asked Senator Ed Murray about what he felt about the Walk and it’s importance…His response: “We’ve lost so many people we love, and because of Lifelong, people are living, and not dying.”
On the bus from Queen Anne, I was seated next to a lesbian couple and one of their mom’s who was visiting from Minnesota. The mom and daughter, Sue and Sunny Sherman, came with Sunny’s girlfriend Anna Russo, who raised $700 and was the AIDS Walk fundraising leader at her job. I asked them about the importance of the AIDS Walk and and they said it was their first, then Anna said, ”I think it was just a nice way to support the gay community…I know it’s not just gay people, but I just wanted to help…”
The park was full and everyone seemed happy and pumped up; the weather being absolutely perfect probably had a lot to do with that…Daniel Lim and his sister Connie Lim sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; the two are part of Newport High School’s ASPEN (AIDS Peer Education) class that raised an amazing $40k! And, the total raised as of the beginning of the walk: $352,000; organizers expect to have more raised from today’s donations…
The runners started at 10am, walkers at 10:05…as the crowds of people set out on their walk/run, the Renegaye Pep Band started playing Lady Gaga’s, “Bad Romance”…Barbie of Purr, was standing, well leaning, against a street sign waving at the the runners/walkers going by…Turning the bend by Roy St. Coffee there was a cheerful group of Asian kids, two girls and a boy around 13 in neon ‘Obey Me’ volunteer shirts encouraging us by saying “You are awesome! You’re awesome..out of this world awesome!”…When just entering the opening to the park there was a guy, along with some young girls (family members/staff’s children) cheering on the the crowd out front of this beautiful house. I found out he was the Canadian Consul General for Seattle and I asked a similar question about the walk, he responded “It’s a great initiative that people are coming out for an incredibly important cause!”
SPD and the event organizers estimated 4500-5000 people; they had 3000 shirts made and they ran out. Last year they had 115 runners and this year they had 329. Congressman Jim McDermott and State Attorney General Rob McKenna also participated in the Walk.
(Editor’s Note: Brad is also working on a longer, more personal essay on the AIDS Walk and what it meant to him as an HIV positive man.)