The sad news out of Mississippi about the young child who was thought cured of HIV perfectly illustrates why it is just so important to continue supporting AIDS Service Organizations. They are still very much in need, and sorely underfunded. Education efforts are still relevant. People are still contracting HIV and people are still dying from related complications. To date, Timothy Ray Brown is the only person who has been functionally cured of HIV successfully. If you are able to give anything at all to these worthy organizations, please do.
I've been thinking a lot this year about time, how we measure it (read this fabulous article from Brain Pickings) and how to make the most of 525,600 minutes when things ... aren't exactly going as planned. That's the thing about plans -- they have a habit of going awry. :-) John Lennon said it best: "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
When I think about Pride, this is what I think about:
Halifax: According to Gay Halifax, Pride events in Halifax date back to 1973, predating the first march by fifteen years, with a picnic hosted by the Gay Alliance for Equality (GAE), which had been founded the year before.
In December 2012, I was privileged and honored to run my friend Kenn Chaplin's World AIDS Day roundup, which he had originated in 2010. I called the incarnation "Kenn's Project," and accepted submissions all the way up to 10 p.m. EST on December 1. I received written submissions from many of my amazing friends, including Edward, Emerald (she of the Awake and Alive Project), and Kenn himself. As World AIDS Day approached, I expanded the loose guidelines to include photos, and on World AIDS Day, I received one that I was already familiar with.
"Cut red ribbon 6" in length, then fold at the top into an inverted 'V' shape, use safety pin to attach to clothing." -- early Visual AIDS handout
On Friday, Sept. 21, my friend, fellow admin assistant and teammate, Sandie, walked in the door to our department, past my cubicle, and the first thing I said to her was, "We're awesome."
She's known me about a year, and is well aware of my abiding love of sarcasm and penchant for jokes, especially on Fridays, so she hesitated a moment before tentatively replying "... how awesome?"
My answer? "$1,994 of awesome." That's right, as of 8:30 a.m., Friday, Sept. 21, with two days to go until the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, we had exceeded our goal, and probably our expectations too, by $494.
I am so sorry it's taken me so long to write. September is fondly remembered as the month in which I got nothing done ... well, except for what I get paid to get done, and, of course, fundraising.
As I begin this, only a few hours have passed since I was sitting at a table for two at Ristorante a Mano, with a margherita pizza with artichokes, and across from Edward -- who, quick refresher, I've known for nearly 15 years, meeting in grade 6 in the course of my very first AIDS project. Edward is a wonderful storyteller and for much of the time I was regaled with travel stories about a European city he travelled to last year, that I now feel I know so well, and is so intricately drawn in my mind, I could easily go and explore right now. Alas, I am still in li'l old Nova Scotia. One day, though!
I met Allison, the summer student at the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, the other day when she delivered Save the Date cards for the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life to my house. This is my second year fundraising for the event, and will be my first year participating. I am blessed to be walking with a team of at least 4 women, who along with being wonderful and amazing, are committed to raising $1,500.
If you're anything like me, there are probably dozens, if not more, pages you've liked on Facebook. In my case, 550, and a good chunk of that number -- probably more than 200 -- is HIV/AIDS-related; many of them are ASO's from all over the world.