Edmonton AIDS Walk for Life 2009

The 2009 AIDS Walk for Life took place this past Sunday. Mack and I participated for the second year in a row, and began raising money for it a few weeks ago. As some of you may have known, we were in a bit of a competition, and in spite of his “Twitter clout”, I won! Well, ultimately, HIV Edmonton is the winner, but thank you to all of my sponsors who helped me raise $260 (Mack raised $210). All of the money raised from the walk stays in the community to help with HIV Edmonton’s work with prevention, education and support for those living with HIV, among other activities.

With the water bottle and reusable bag I “earned” from raising over $250

It was a beautiful, albeit brisk, day for the 5km walk, and the weather was a blessing for the event, held in Churchill Square this year. The outdoor setting made everything seem more lively, and welcomed any and all who were in the area to enjoy the festivities. Besides music and entertainment, Planet Organic and Starbucks were on hand distributing refreshments, and walkers were treated to free pizza from Pizza 73.

Churchill Square

Burlesque performer Sophie Sticke

At the same time, there seemed to be more confusion that arose out of the open space, a natural result from a latent ability to exert control over a wide area. Last year, a button we received at the end of the walk entitled participants to complimentary pizza and popcorn, but this year, because of the nature of the space, tickets were required for food. It hadn’t been communicated to us that tickets could be used for a free hot dog from Fat Franks (we only stumbled upon this after deciding that we would buy food ourselves), and I’m sure many participants who hadn’t wanted to eat prior to the walk weren’t aware of this fact.

Nitpicks aside, it was still a great event. Nick Lees, the “Mile High Marshall” and Sophie led the way on a float of sorts down the walk route. There’s something about just being a part of a crowd, knowing you are a part of a movement larger than yourself that is wonderful to experience.

Nick Lees and Sophie

And we’re off!

Mack gets his walk on

Along the walk route

At the Legislature

Instead of stopping halfway through the walk at the Legislature for a photo, the organizers decided the group shot would be taken at the end back at Churchill Square. The stairs on the Centennial Plaza were the perfect place to do so.

Group photo op

Thanks again to everyone who supported us!

Edmonton AIDS Walk for Life 2008

I’ve written in the past on this blog about seminars and workshops I’ve attended to learn more about the topic of HIV/AIDS, but they’ve been heavily skewed towards the international side of things. For whatever reason, it’s become easy to ignore the same issues at home and concentrate only on the problems abroad.

Thus, when I saw advertisements spotlighting the upcoming AIDS Walk for Life, I decided to sign up. I participated in the walk once before while in university, but hadn’t continued with the annual fall event.

Walk for Life

Since that time, the walk has changed – it now started from City Hall (instead of the Butterdome) and wound its way through downtown Edmonton (instead of the River Valley). The fundraising part of it also got easier, with an online collection function available to those registering online. I really should have utilized it – Mack garnered $100 after just a day of soliciting donations.

We made out way to City Hall on Sunday afternoon, just in time to join in on the festivities. Pre-walk entertainment included the high-energy drag queen Yoko Ono and the female singing trio Belle Rouge.

Yoko Ono does Footloose

Watching Belle Rouge

There were various displays around the City Room, and a craft area for children. The entire walk and atmosphere was very family-friendly.

Art work

We were eventually ushered outside for an optional warm-up led by peppy staff from the World Health Club, and we were off.

Dance, everybody!

Before the walk

It was very clearly an autumn day, with overcast skies and a light breeze, but we couldn’t have asked for better weather – it was just cool enough for a comfortable 5km stroll.

And we’re off!

Poor puppy!

Winding across the closed street

The group made an obligatory refueling/photo pit stop at the Legislature before heading back, when it did start to get a little chillier. Thankfully, however, the rain held off.

At the Legislature

We were promised food upon our return to City Hall, and the organizers delivered. With the walk over, we were free to gorge ourselves on complimentary soft drinks, Starbucks coffee and iced tea, mini doughnuts, fresh popped sweet and salty kettle corn, and Funky Pickle pizza. We happily obliged.

Mack happy with mini dougnnuts and balloon

With popcorn and pizza

The Walk for Life was not only fun, but was for a great cause. I will definitely be looking to participate again next year.

Mack’s photo set is here.