Why I Walk- Curt's Story
Walking to Remember, Walking to Prevent
by Curt Beall
My first AIDSWALK was in Buffalo NY in 2002. I had lost almost a dozen friends and heard that we were going to have our first AIDSWALK. I had just been diagnosed with the disease myself and wanted to honor my friends and to raise funds for the local AIDS organization that had helped me through those terrible first few months of finding out and dealing with my own diagnosis. The local AIDS agency provided me with one-on-one counseling. They provided support groups for me to attend. They gave me information on other agencies that could assist me. They were there to hold my hand when it needed holding.
That year, I decided to make a poster dedicating my walk to my friends who had lost their battle with this terrible disease. I wrote in big letters at the top: MY WALK IS IN MEMORY OF then I listed each of their first names. In those days, several of my friends’ families didn’t know that it was AIDS that had taken their loved ones and by listing their last names I felt it would be outing them. That year they estimated that close to 40,000 people were being infected with the virus. I’m angry that those statistics are still the same today. With all the education and loss you would think that we could bring these numbers down but still after all these years people are still getting infected by the thousands.
So I will walk again this year to honor the friends I have lost to this disease and to hopefully educate people to the fact that this disease did not go away. Yes, the medications have helped people live longer but with each new infection it puts more of a strain on our local AIDS organizations to help these individuals. More people every year are in need of case management, housing, food, and counseling. So remember, educate, and for Brian, Steven, Brad, Ryan, & Frank, and the countless others who lost their lives to this disease, I will walk again. I hope you will join me.
To join Curt at AIDSWALK, click here.