End on a BANG! (Guest Post)


My sister and I are 3 years apart and I always thought it was cool that her birthday was Sept 10 and mine Oct 10. I would tease her that she was only 9/10 while I was 10/10 but it also meant the fall was heralded by her birthday and often back to school was her birthday too.

On Wednesday it occurred to me, after calling my sister to wish her a happy birthday, I was exactly one month before my fortieth birthday. Oh. Cue feelings. And as is my way, I went to humour to figure out my feelings and put this call out to my facebook friends:

“Hi Folks! I’m turning fabulously 40 in exactly one month. You know what would perk up my sagging bits? A donation to the ScotiaBank AIDS Walk for Life – London, specifically my Team RHAC honours Everyday Heroes. We are 50% of the way to our goal and the Walk is SATURDAY. Help a saggy sister out, DONATE today!

I thought it was funny, things are saggy-errrr and aging can be slightly ridiculous. Some friends rallied to assure me I’m due for the best decade of my life. I’m not terribly freaked out about 40. I’m fortunate to have lots of friends in their 50s and 60s who show me what great decades those are to be in. Samantha offered that I blog about the Walk, it’s not an athletic endeavor but it has its own challenges.

I haven’t written much about my paid work as a Fund Development Coordinator except to encourage people to be wise when combining philanthropy and fitness. I raise money to provide services to people living with HIV and hepatitis C, two highly stigmatized viruses, as are the people who are at risk of infection and people living with these viruses.

I see the impact on wellness that stigma has, far worse than the impact of a virus or even side effects of medication. Simply being suspected of being HIV positive can put a person’s housing at risk. So, for the past 25 years, we’ve organized an AIDS Walk in London to raise money and awareness.

It’s also that last year of the Walk, the end of a chapter. The partner agencies that support people living with (and at risk of )HIV agreed that we need a new vehicle to raise awareness and more funds to meet the needs of people using our services.

So please do consider helping me end the Walk on a BANG! It’s a celebration of 25 years of activism and raising money. We will have glitter and glam. We will walk 3km with lanterns as the sun sets. We will honour the past and take steps to end HIV stigma, which makes for a better life for people living with HIV and HIV negative people. We all have an HIV status, positive or negative, I live for the day when we are all HIV equal.

So whether it’s a celebration of my upcoming fortieth, an urge to make the world a better place, or simply that you can’t think of a reason not to, please donate today!

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