Over the years, doctors, researchers and experts have made great strides in providing treatment and care for those afflicted with HIV and AIDS and research shows the outlook continues to trend towards the more positive.
Gail Wilson-Paige, who has volunteered with the alliance for a year, said she got involved with the organization to lend her time and talents to a cause that works to remove the negative stigma.
“I’ve learned so many things and met so many great people,” Wilson-Paige said. “What’s rewarding to me is that I can see that people are being helped.”
To honor the memory of those who have died and celebrate the lives of those who continue their fight, the nonprofit began organizing an annual walk in the heart of downtown Cartersville.
Alliance executive director Lola Thomas said the event, which is in its fifth year, attracts those who have a connection or interest in the cause.
“People participate because they have some particular interest related to HIV and AIDS — people who have lost someone, people living with AIDS, those interested in education — all want to support the cause and battle the stigma,” Thomas said. “There are all kinds of reasons as to why people walk.”
Jamie Potts, who is an HIV educator for the nonprofit, said the walk connects people and is a fun event.
“For me it’s just good to be able to bring people together,” Potts said. “It’s not a sad event at all.”
The 2.1 mile walk begins and ends in Friendship Plaza and weaves through downtown. The walk takes a scenic route that is suitable for all ages.
“It’s certainly a family-friendly event,” Thomas said.
There also will be music, entertainment and prizes.
Registration is at 10 a.m. and is $20. Opening ceremonies begin at 10:45 a.m. and the walk begins at 11 a.m.
The walk is more than just an opportunity to shed light on HIV and AIDS, it also is a celebration.
“In some ways you’re celebrating life,” Thomas said.
Information: (770) 606-0953 or visit aanwg.or