I spent my Saturday morning in Tacoma, Washington at the South Sound End AIDS Walk. This walk is a beautiful "party with a purpose," that happens every year in multiple locations around Washington state, working to find a cure and awareness for HIV/AIDS.
Walkers at the event held red ribbons (the iconic symbol for HIV/AIDS awareness) with the names of their loved ones who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. The walk is approximately 2.5 miles and is more focused on raising money for the cause than getting a huge workout.
This is the drink station--a place with cute little glasses filled with my favorite: Martinelli's apple cider. You picked up a glass and wrote a message of something positive that you envision for your future. You gave a toast, drank the cider and then dropped a small red ribbon into the glass.
After you finished the drinking process, you brought your glass over to the wish station where volunteers gently stacked the glasses on top of each other to make a pyramid of hopes for the future, sweeping away the past and negativity. I thought this sentimental activity was perfect for the event.
As the morning progressed, we set up our PFLAG booth along with other great organizations during their Community Resource Expo. A wonderful band played as people enjoyed a brunch.
During the event, staff had set up a photo booth encouraging Instagram photos using the social media hashtag #EndAIDSWalkSS, generating a good response and plenty of engaging snapshots. As a social media lover, this enticed me and certainly provided inspiration for the next event I will help organize.
Before the walk began, local Zumba instructors led the crowd in a fun two-song routine to warm up for their trek. Everyone was on their feet having a blast.
The crowd began to gather at the starting line and embark on their journey. This year's End AIDS Walk has so far raised over $48,000 with Seattle's walk scheduled for September 26.
If you'd like to learn more about HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, or to register for the Seattle or Spokane walks, visit the official website.