Students walk to raise money for HIV/AIDS

The 25th annual AIDS Walk Washington raised nearly $100,000 more than last year’s event despite rainy and cold weather Saturday morning.

The charity event, hosted by the Whitman-Walker Health center, raised nearly $840,000 and attracted more than 30 students from 15 different campus organizations.

“I have an uncle who has had AIDS for 15 years, so this is why I walk. It’s an illness with a lot of stigma,” sophomore and Student Global AIDS Campaign Director of Media and Outreach Katie Wynne said. “So for people who don’t fit the image, it’s good for them to go. People can see that people who have AIDS are not like this or that.”

As rain continued to pour throughout the morning, hundreds of participants huddled under umbrellas at Freedom Plaza to begin the walk or join in the 5K timed run. VIDA Fitness, a D.C. gym and fitness chain, guided a warm-up for the participants.

Jessie Hurd, the women’s water polo team’s captain for the AIDS walk, said the team wanted to participate in an event that gives back to the city that supports them by attending games.

“Community service is something our athletic director is emphasizing,” Hurd said.

Thirteen team members participated in the walk and raised $1,269.

Megan Brolley, a sophomore on the team, said she enjoyed the group exercises.

“The exercises got us pumped up and put us in a good mood even in the rain,” she said.

GW groups and schools raised about $13,000. Participants ranged from the Student Global AIDS Campaign to cultural and Greek organizations and different schools within the University.

About 3 percent of District residents have HIV/AIDS, according to the walk’s website, accounting for more than 16,000 people across the city. The statistic translates to about one in 20 D.C. adults.

Senior Miguel Alvarez, the president of the Organization of Latino American Students, said he participated in the walk for a second year.

“We’re here to support brothers and sisters and fight for this cause,” he said, adding that HIV/AIDS is generally a big issue in the Latino community.

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