My feet hurt, but my spirits are soaring, for I've completed yet another 10k AIDS Walk and raised a nice amount of change to help take us a step forward toward ending this epidemic. Throngs of Bay Areans gathered at Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park early this morning in a show of solidarity, love, and hope. I'm always amazed at how many people are affected by this disease, and it's so wonderful to see people come together in this way. (I didn't see any of those Rev. Phelps hatemongers this year, thank Jah.) One guy carried a huge sign that said, "I miss my brother." His brother's name was Mike Jones. I didn't get to see how old Mike was when he died, but there had to have been at least 10 of those stickers you get when you finish the walk stuck on the back of the sign. So for ten plus years, his brother carried this sign, in remembrance of his brother Mike. It was really touching.
Touching, and cute. Because tons of people also brought their dogs. Dogs of every size, shape, and temperament. I even saw a St. Bernard, and really, how often do you see one of those live in the flesh? Never! There was also a preponderance of itty bitty foofy dogs being carried around. I'm sorry, but if you have to carry your dog, or if you have to put it in a purse, don't bring it. What's the point? And I have nothing but love for the yellow lab that tried to tackle me for the last bit of my morning bagel.
I also love doing the AIDS Walk every year, because it's great exercise. And I'm not just talking cardio here. My cousin and I noticed something about ourselves today: We're total freebie whores. Kashi TLC Bars? Wonderful! Dreyer's Whole Fruit popsicles? Why, yes! SBUX tangerine frappuccino sample? Don't mind if I do. Excuse me sir, where did you get that bag of chips?
By the end of the walk, our backpacks were so full with AIDS Walk booty that it made the trek back to the car a major hiking expedition.
There's nothing like taking a long walk in the park, on a gorgeous day, surrounded by like-minded people and volunteers cheering you on along the way. And there's something cathartic about doing this walk --- our collective steps marching toward the end goal symbolize the steps of advancement in science and technology that exist today --- and continue to be developed --- to help manage this virus, or eradicate it altogether.
That's a crossing of the finish line we should all be hoping for, and work together to achieve.
Many thanks to those of you who sponsored me for today's walk. You have no idea how much your support means to me. I hope one day, I can return the favor.