30,000 of Our Closest Friends

AIDS Walk NYC 2013

AIDS Walk NYC 2013

By Guest Blogger Brian C.

Those scheduled to attend might have looked out their windows to see the pouring rain under dark clouds in a Sunday morning sky and thought, "I already made my donation...I think I'll stay in." I know the thought crossed my mind. A 10-kilometer walk in the best of circumstances is daunting. And AIDS Walk NYC 2013 was a charity event so concentrated on single-day performance that the city's awful forecast loomed as a serious threat to its success. For many scheduled to attend, curling up on a dry sofa with a good book probably seemed like a welcome alternative to braving the nasty. 

But so, Global Camps Africa (GCA), along with its donors, sponsors, families and over 30,000 of our closest friends proudly gathered in New York City under Central Park's dripping spring canopy. GCA was one of hundreds of teams there, where each had arrived to represent its piece of a vital international HIV/AIDS relief effort.

Global Camps Africa was, in many ways, leading Sunday's charge. Its team started preparing for the event over a month ago with a few specific goals: Let's register 50 team members, and let's raise $10,000. They did that, and more.

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I was there to witness this. My wife, Emily, and I drove to the city, and we brought our 3-year-old son. He jumped into my backpack, ready to go for a ride. But it was all a first for me. I had never before taken the AIDS Walk – not in NYC, not in SF, or any of the other prominent cities where the event is held. It was completely new, and seeing such a mass of humanity join together in purpose was flatly overwhelming. See, I may not have the opportunity to directly impact the children that GCA aims to empower. I may not find myself in the position to become a vocelli, or visit Camp Sizanani in South Africa. It just may not be in the cards. But an event like this gives us a rare opportunity to tap into a palpable sense of community – it feels like the highest potential of a life.  I'd recommend it and anything like it. I would recommend that you squeeze your loved one, make your donation, and go for your walk. Brave whatever weather comes your way. I, for one, will do this again.