Students join charity for annual AIDS walk

Big Bend Cares hosted its 17th Annual AIDS Walk at Tom Brown Park on Sunday. More than 650 participants gathered to walk in support of the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Sponsors and participants helped to raise over $29,000 to assist the HIV/AIDS victims living in the Big Bend area.

“We were hoping to get $30,000,” said Melissa Walton, director of development and support services. “We typically get money as time rolls on, so I’m sure we’ll reach our goal.”

Rob Renzi, executive director for Big Bend Cares, was pleased with the event and has confidence that the organization will reach its goal.

“Organizations like Capital Health Plan donate money for every person that walks,” Renzi said. “The amount will be close.”

The money raised was a combination of registration fees, donations and sponsorship

Tomas Berger, a chemistry professor at Tallahassee Community College, won the award for raising the most money.

“I raised $1,070 by asking the faculty at TCC to donate money,” Berger said. “It’s just fun and for a good cause.”

Most of the participants at the walk were a part of organizations in Tallahassee.

“There were more than 25 student organizations from the local colleges and high schools,” said Bridget Robinson, Youth Corps coordinator.

The Gamma Alpha Chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority, Inc. helped volunteer for the event.

Vanessa Fisher,22, a member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, was proud of her involvement

“I love doing walks and I’m a sucker for service,” said the senior psychology student from Boston.

Robinson said the number of participants and and the amount of money raised will be released on Tuesday.