2013 AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5k Run, One of the Largest AIDS Event in the Southeast Gains Over One Million Dollars in Financial Support

2013 AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run from Dawn on Vimeo.

AIDS  Organizations Will Receive  Financial Support Thanks to the AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5k Run Annual Event

AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run is an annual event that supports AID Atlanta and seven other AIDS service organizations.  They have been funding support to organizations for 23 years.  It’s one of the largest fundraising events for AIDS in the Southeast United States as well as  the most visible. With this years attendance reaching over 10,000 people.  The AIDS Walk & 5K Run involvement makes it possible for AID Atlanta and the other AIDS organizations continue the work to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. They have funded several programs, including the HIV primary health care, case management, HIV testing & counseling, and also provides support to AID Atlanta’s education program; which provides more than 80,000 prevention contacts annually.

2013 AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run at Piedmont Park

2013 AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run at Piedmont Park

Two Women indirectly affected by the disease are Caroline Mitchell and Tanzie Rena. They each give an account of their own personal experience of what it’s like to lose someone to HIV/AIDS. According to Caroline she has lost her brother and sister to AIDS in 1989 at a time when AIDS patients had stigma & discrimination attached.  Her sister was a prostitute and her brother was gay it was one of the toughest times her family had to deal with.

Caroline Tolbert (c) 2013

Caroline Mitchell (c) 2013 photo by D. Garvin

Caroline says “although my mother was always there for all of us, this was the one time she says was unable to fix it.”  During this tough time Caroline tried to be the strength for them all and became the support system for her siblings helping them at their homes.


The Names Project Quilt laid out for People to Sign

Tanzie Rena’s pain is still fresh after recently losing her child this year just few months earlier to cancer, which may have also been a complication from the HIV virus.  However, Tanzie says “it doesn’t’ matter what my child died from, just not having my son here still hurts all the same.” Tanzie was also in attendance at the Atlanta AIDS Walk & 5k Run event where she signed one of the AIDS Quilt.


Sal Gangi, College Park Fire Fighter (c) 2013

College Park Fire fighter, Sal Gangi explains the effects of HIV/AIDS and how they handle a call with an infected person.  However, he also reminds us that “it doesn’t matter who people are or whether or not they have HIV/AIDS, everyone is treated fairly and we are here for the people” says Gangi. Gangi’s reputation precedes him for the concern he has for human life  as a professional and simply as a human being.  One great example of that is from a mother of a dying child, Tanzie Rena, who remembers Gangi vividly because of the compassion he displayed to her son during his extreme weak & fragile state two weeks prior to his death.


Tanzie Rena and Fire Fighter Sal Gangi

According to Tanzie Rena, Sal Gangi was one of the first responders who arrived at her house on an emergency call when her son fell ill from his sickness just two weeks prior to his death.“I remember this fire fighter because of the compassion he showed my son in his sufferings. I remember Mr. Gangi talking to my son the entire time to keep his focus on him and not his circumstance; even talking to him about living in New York City.”  “That stood out to me because he was so kind to my son and  it meant the world to me because no mother wants to see their child suffering”.  I will never forget him for for his kindness” says Tanzie.

College Park Ga. Fire Station (C) 2013

College Park Ga. Fire Station (C) 2013

The Names Project Foundation is Another participant of the event, they’re a non-profit organization and has been around since 1987, and has charge over the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The Creation of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Being Made on the Spot at the AIDS Walk Event (C) 2013

The the AIDS Memorial Quilt Being Made on the Spot by Director of Programs, Jada Harris  (C) 2013 Piedmont Park

“The purpose of the quilt is to memorialize the victims of AIDS who has passed on and to help remind people of the seriousness of the disease” says Jada Harris.  According to The Names Project “The Quilt was conceived in November of 1985 by long-time San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones.  Since the 1978 assassinations of gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, Jones had helped organize the annuandlelight march honoring these men.  At the end of the march, Jones and others stood on ladders taping these placards to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building. The wall of names looked like a patchwork quilt.”  After seeing the wall, Jones and friends were inspired to create a larger memorial in memory of his friend Marvin Feldman, which was the inspiration for the quilts first patch a year later.

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