Courtesy of AIDS Action Committee—
Raul Medina is the Senior Integrated Media Solutions Consultant with Entravision, the local affiliate for Univision Boston (Channel 27) and a Board Member of both Fenway Health and AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. Raul will be one of the thousands of people walking in AIDS Walk Boston & 5K Run on Sunday, June 1.
This year marks the 29th Boston AIDS Walk Boston & 5K Run, which has raised approximately $40 million for AIDS Action. Each year, monies raised at the Walk fund innovative programs and services of AIDS Action’s that have contributed to the state’s success in reducing new diagnoses of HIV by 52 percent since 1999. Just as important, the Walk also helps raise awareness of the impact HIV/AIDS has on individuals, families and the community at-large, reminding us all that we must work together to stop the spread of HIV. [pullquote]HIV is a very expensive condition to manage, though, and there can be serious health complications associated with it. Walking not only helps raise money to support programs and services for people living with HIV, but it also helps raise awareness. —Raul Medina[/pullquote]
We asked Raul to tell us a little bit about why he walks.
Q: When did you attend your first AIDS Walk & what motivated you to get involved?
A: I actually volunteered at the triathlon AIDS Action used to run before becoming a walker. It was either 2000 or 2001, and I’ve been involved with AIDS Action ever since. I had two motives – to see what a triathlon was like, but more importantly, because I had friends who were HIV-positive and I knew I could help them by volunteering for AIDS Action. I was also new to Boston at the time, and being part of the AIDS Action family helped me become a part of the larger LGBT community and meet new friends.
Q: Why is participating in events like the AIDS Walk still important?
A: Awareness about HIV and AIDS seems to be fading, even among some of the people my age who remember the epidemic when it was at its worst. Luckily, we have medications now that can help people infected with HIV live long, healthy lives. HIV is a very expensive condition to manage, though, and there can be serious health complications associated with it. Walking not only helps raise money to support programs and services for people living with HIV, but it also helps raise awareness. It reminds people to get tested and know their status. It reminds them to use protection when having sex. And it helps raise awareness of other conditions like hepatitis c and STDs that impact many of the same people at risk for HIV.
Q: For many people, the AIDS Walk is a sort of unofficial kick off to LGBT Pride Week in Boston. What would you say to young LGBT people who have never been to an AIDS Walk before?
A: Besides raising awareness for a great cause, it is also a fun event. We get warmed up and stretch for the Walk right by the Charles River, usually on a beautiful, sunny day. People are happy and can meet others who care about the cause. The Walk sponsors bring goodies to give away. The Walk also acts an an unofficial kick off to Boston Pride, but with a different focus – a focus on health, life, wellness, and community. This event helps save lives, educates the public, and raises money for an important cause. HIV disproportionately impacts both the LGBT and Latino/Hispanic communities. It affects people’s families, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Together, we can support those most affected by HIV and raise awareness about the disease in those communities hardest hit by it.
Registration is now open for the 29th annual AIDS Walk Boston & 5K Run, which will take place Sunday, June 1, 2014. The event, which regularly draws 10,000 to 15,000 participants, is AIDS Action Committee’s largest annual fundraiser. The Walk is 6.2-miles. The 5K Run is a competitive, timed event fully sanctioned by the USA Track & Field Association. The AIDS Walk & 5K Run will begin and end at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade in Boston. Registration and check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. The Walk begins at 10 a.m.; the 5K Run begins at 9:50 a.m. WCVB-TV Eye Opener Newscaster Randy Price will emcee the event, which also includes a Wellness Festival, a post-walk celebration of healthy living. Participants can register for the AIDS Walk & 5K Run at www.aidswalkboston.org. There is neither a registration fee nor a minimum fundraising requirement to participate in the Walk. There is a $25 registration fee for the 5K Run. AIDS Action expects to raise approximately $1 million from the event.
[From a News Release]