Player With a Purpose; Minnesota Lynx Star Guard Candice Wiggins Scores Off-Court Points as an Advocate for Youth AIDS Education
June 12, 2009
WNBA star Candice Wiggins' emergence as an HIV/AIDS advocate stems from a deeply personal place: Her father, Major League Baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of the disease in 1991 at age 32. The 22-year-old guard for the Minnesota Lynx was not quite four when her dad passed.
"I could have gone a totally different way," said Wiggins. "I credit my mom. She sheltered me at first because she didn't want to tarnish my opinion of my dad. When I got old enough, I explored it on my own. I wanted to know."
Wiggins recently participated in the Minnesota AIDS Walk, and in her home state of California, she has lent her name to the San Francisco Foundation's Candice Wiggins Foundation Fund and to Until There's Cure -- both AIDS charities. Her passion is HIV/AIDS youth education.
"You'd be surprised how many young people I meet who aren't educated about the basic facts," said Wiggins. "People are still afraid to talk about it, to ask about it. I want to make it cool to be educated about your health, like having the latest hot outfit. It shouldn't make you nervous. It should make you proud."
Theresa Evans-Ross, an HIV/AIDS prevention program coordinator at North High School and area churches, said Wiggins is the perfect choice to raise awareness of the disease. "It's always good to have someone who can identify in a personal way," she said. "Especially sports stars who are being positive role models. Kids look up to them."
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
06.01.2009; Kristin Tillotson