By: David Swank
My two pastors, a bunch of Mercy members, friends from St. John’s Lutheran Church, and I recently had the opportunity to be involved with a fun and worthy fundraising cause. We participated in Atlanta’s annual AIDS Walk and 5k Run to increase awareness and funding for AIDS research.
I have no problem telling anybody that I participated in a walk for this cause. For years it was a taboo subject. While no longer taboo, I think it is still pretty hush hush as a conversation topic. Lots of people have AIDS and do not talk about it. In the twelve years that I have been homeless, I have had multiple friends die of AIDS. It was really hard to watch them waste away before my eyes. At one point I could literally see my friend’s ribs poke through his skin. I have abundant hope and enormous faith that God will guide all our scientific researchers in the lab to find a final cure for this dreadful disease.
On the day of the walk, the weather was great—the temperature was comfortable and the sun was bright. We joined thousands of others on the walk. The AIDS walk started and ended in Peidmont Park and wove through the surrounding neighborhoods. People were having a good time, there was an air of celebration—lots of cheering and laughter. You could tell that folks were happy to be supporting a good cause.
Lusha, Steve, Justin, Terry and I walked the race together. In general I am a fast walker. The crowds did not slow us down during this walk—we were trying to catch up with the front. At the water stations, they were playing funky music and I passed by each one dancing and swinging my arms above my head. By the time we finished the race I was sweating like a pig.
At the end of the walk we were happy to learn that our very own Matthew Hyatt won first place in the 5K run for his age group.
I had a great time and am looking forward to next year’s walk.