Tallahassee residents are taking a stand for AIDS awareness. On Sunday, locals gathered at Tom Brown Park for the Big Bend Cares AIDS Walk, a walk-a-thon designed to raise consciousness about the disease. The event started in the afternoon and according to the Tallahassee Democrat, over 500 individuals came to participate.
In recent years, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS virus has become quite prevalent, especially in the black community. Organized by United Way, the walk generated over $34,000 last year. This year, event planners aimed to raise $36,000 to help people the Big Bend area.
In an interview with the Democrat, Stephanie Schwartz, the president of the Big Bend board of directors, said that the focus of the annual event is about more than raising money. “The main focus is to educate people,” she said. “AIDS is on the rise nationally and the awareness just needs to continue.”
This year’s AIDS walk marks the 18th time that the event was held in Florida’s capital. AIDS is the last stage of HIV, a disease that attacks the immune system and makes the body more susceptible to illnesses. Generally people do not die from the disease itself. They die from other illnesses such as pneumonia or cancer. Organizers hope to make Tallahassee residents knowledgeable and in the process prevent the disease.
Jay Christie for the editorial board.