May 17 was truly a special day. More than 30,000 walkers gathered in Central Park for AIDS Walk New York’s 30th Anniversary of raising funds and providing care to people in the New York/New Jersey Metro area who are living with HIV/AIDS. This was my third year of participating as a walker and it just gets better and better.
Before the rally, I met one of my creative idols, David Hyde Pierce. Storyteller extraordinaire, wit and bon vivant, he’s also a downright good man with an unexpectedly earthy twist. Often when we meet those we admire, we discover they are less brilliant or wonderful than we thought. David Hyde Pierce is most gracious, humble and his dry wit is evident in all he does. Already the day was off to an amazing start.
Founder of the Walk Craig R. Miller has been behind the scenes and in front of donors for three decades. In his remarks from the Rally stage, he recounted how many times he was asked, “Who are YOU to do this?” That seems like unimaginable hubris, asking someone who is doing something positive to help people, yet that question often comes up. Miller said that too often people wait for a leader. When you are motivated and step up, you become that leader. There were several walkers there who had been working and walking for that entire 30 years, including Rita Fischer and Francine Goldstein–both champion fundraisers who are walking till there’s a cure.
Luminaries from state and local government abounded and my favorite moment was GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie, newly taking the reins at last year’s AIDS Walk, conferring the HERO award on Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support of healthcare and HIV/AIDS care. Governor Cuomo took the stage and took the audience into the palm of his hand when he gave us all a call to action. It is not enough, he said, to lead in giving all people equal rights. He asked us to join him and New York State to eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2020. How would you say no when you believe in the cause and the call to action is so stirring?
More than 23,000 steps later we arrived at Central Park where our end was our beginning. Be a part of something bigger than yourself, touch the future and make a difference. If you can’t walk, support those who do. If you’d like to contribute, my link is still active: https://ny.aidswalk.net/StarWalkerSherr. We’re all in it to win it!