Walking for a Cause


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AIDS walk raises millions, drawing New Yorkers from around the city


Photos



  • Volunteers at the 10-kilometer event, which attracted 30,000 walkers. Photos by Heather Stein




  • Stacey Pearson, left, of CrossFit





All in a day’s walk.

More than $4.8 million was raised by 30,000 walkers at this year’s annual AIDS Walk in Central Park on May 17, the country’s largest and most visible single-day event in response to the AIDS epidemic.

Opening ceremony participants included the famous -- Tyne Daly and David Hyde Pierce -- to the lesser-known, including Brooklyn’s Black & Gold Marching Elite. “We are encouraging children to join a cause they believe in,” said Fatima Alonzo, the group’s executive director.

Athena Shapiro, a third-grade teacher from PS 163 on the Upper West Side, walked with her husband and daughter Reeva, age 4. “This is our tenth year walking,” she said. “We started our tradition together when we were dating. My mother always supported GMHC and after she died on 9/11 I walk in her memory.

Tables, banners, food, t-shirts, corporate sponsors, and groups with their own names lined the park and rallied for awareness. Stacey Pearson of Crossfit NYC, which has a new location in Chelsea, was there, as was David Wohlstadter-Rocha, who lives in Chelsea and is an ER doctor at BluePearl Veterinary Partners.

Chemistry teacher and student government advisor Matthew Singer, of the Bronx School of Law & Science, said his school brought students, teachers, parents and alumni to the walk. “We are no different than any other school,” he said. “We have a student body that is passionate about the community and volunteering, which is truly special”.

Shemella Daniels, an 18-year-old aspiring journalist and high school senior, said she has lost family members to HIV AIDS.

“It’s my first time doing the walk,” she said. “We cannot cure it at the moment, but we can fight it.”




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