By John Joseph Mastandrea —
This year there was a fresh spirit and a vibrant energy as planning for the 2009 AIDS Walk began in the spring. A groundswell of enthusiasm surged in the summer, so when September arrived, the Metropolitan United Church team was ready to hit the road for the Sept. 13 stroll.
The team was led by Jim Nixon and Jeff Laitar, with Doug Taylor, Ivan, John Vance Snow, Meilana Dickenson, and John Joseph Mastandrea. The team raised over $3,500.
This year the route began at the intersection of Carlton and Church heading south towards Metropolitan, turning west on Queen St., north on Yonge, east on Charles, and south again on Jarvis, concluding at Cawthra Park with a string quartet. The walkers were invited to place an AIDS ribbon on a red rope with the name of a loved one. It was a welcome pause in the walk. Finally, we returned to the beginning by marching south on Church St.
The Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life Toronto is an annual fundraising walk spearheaded by the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). Each year thousands of caring men, women, children—and even a few pets—come together to collect funds, raise awareness, show support and continue to fight against this deadly illness. Since the first event took place in 1989, the Toronto walk has raised over $8.5 million dollars through the participation of more than 100,000 walkers, hundreds of corporate and community teams and many caring corporate supporters.
HIV/AIDS is just as much of a threat as it has ever been. It is a reality that the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) addresses daily. An estimated 60,000 people in Canada live with HIV/AIDS. Researchers project that 30% of them do not know they are HIV–positive.