Saturday, April 22, 2006

Walking for a Purpose

The 18th, yes 18th annual Kansas City AIDS walk was held today. And for about the 6th or 7th time I participated. In 2006 there are more than 4,500 people living with HIV/AIDS in Kansas City alone. I know several of them; some attend my church, some I sing with in the Men's Chorus. Some live in my neighborhood, some I pass by on the street.

HIV/AIDS used to mean an immediate death sentence, like Larry Price, Marc Hein or J. P. Mc Dermott. But now thanks in large part to the efforts of AIDS walks all over the country, research can be funded, people can get the care they need at little or no cost, people with AIDS can get support in food, housing and jobs. HIV+ people are living longer, and living well. I know at least 4 HIV+ men who work daily, live an active life and in many ways look healthier than I do.

But still we walk. Just because the victims of AIDS are living longer does not mean the battle is over and we have won. According to AIDS Walk KC stats, 700 of the 4,500 HIV+ people in KC are between 12 and 24 yrs old.

I am tired, but pleased at the $1500 our church raised. I am sure the total for the walk will net around $300,000 for the wonderful agencies in KC who struggle with cut budgets and increased apathy about AIDS and HIV.

I am sure those of us who care, those of us touched by this horrible disease will be walking for a long time.

I walked:

In honor of two brave men: Daniel Schaunamann and Michael Highfill
In memory of two fine gentlemen: J.P. MC Dermott and Larry Price

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