By: Kevin Matthews
Since 1993, AIDS Walk Boston has been a “family affair.”
We lost a nephew/cousin, James A. Matthews to AIDS in January, 1992. My cousin Jim was the brother that I never had, Best Man at my wedding and my confidante. We didn’t see that much of one another at times, but kept in touch with frequent letters. [pullquote]I’m proud to 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.[/pullquote]
As I was “coming out” and preparing to leave my marriage, my parents and I learned of Jim’s illness and realized that he was in the last stages of trying to deal with it. His family had been hesitant to share the news with us.
After he died in 1992, I made a pact with myself that I would become active in AIDS Walk Boston striving to perpetuate my memory of him. Since 1993, I have walked every year, several times with family members (my late father and my then teenaged son), more often with friends, members of the Gay Fathers of Greater Boston, a group I joined in the mid 1980′s. For the last 10 years, I have done the walk with my partner, John. His sister and nephew joined us one year but usually we do it with a small group of friends. I have been fortunate to enlist a broad base of support especially from co-workers from the MA Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, a state agency that I worked for and recently and retired from after nearly 38 years of service last Fall. For years my late mother and father were also there at the AWB finish greeting us and others and helping to distribute the snacks/treats provided by local vendors. [pullquote]After he died in 1992, I made a pact with myself that I would become active in AIDS Walk Boston striving to perpetuate my memory of him. [/pullquote]
For me, the annual AIDS Walk Boston is a must do event. It gives me (us) a way to give back, to remember those that have been lost and to celebrate those who are long term survivors of AIDS/HIV and the many advances that have been made in the past several decades.
I’m proud to 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.
[From a News Release]