May 3, 2012
This Sunday, the annual AIDS Hike for Life took place on the Hamilton campus. A not-for-profit organization, the AIDS Community Resources, sponsored the event. All profits remain in the Mohawk Valley to support prevention, education and support for those affected.
This year, the Hike raised money for three causes. The Teen AIDS Task Force mentors teenagers about sex, alcohol and healthy eating. Gay, Lesbian, Transsexual and Questioning youth programs in Utica provide support for LGBTQ teens. Emergency-Basic-Human Needs makes support available to those infected with HIV and their families. AIDS Community Resources is dedicated to assisting these organizations and others like them with financial and volunteer support, as well as raising awareness about AIDS.
Volunteers arrived on campus to set up for the AIDS Hike for Life as early as 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, and many had been working on Saturday as well. Rebecca Gaines ’15 participated in the Hike and was impressed by the dedication of the volunteers organizing the event. As someone who had experience in planning fundraising walks, she was drawn to the idea of participating in the AIDS Hike for Life.
She said, “It was a really great event to be a part of, and we were really happy about the level of participation…People were in a great mood and excited to walk or run for this amazing cause.”
As senior class president, Adrian Ntwatwa ’12 co-chaired the Hike, but it meant more to him than just another aspect of his job. Uganda, where Ntwatwa was born, experienced serious incidences of AIDS in the early 2000s but rates dropped due to campaigns in the country. Naturally, this was a very personal issue for Ntwatwa and one he wanted to raise awareness about. Even though the money raised is not going to Ugnada, he says, it goes “towards combating a disease that affects us all and is a global problem.”
This year, the AIDS Hike for Life raised $44,378, surpassing what was raised last year, and more money from the Hike is still coming in. It is still possible that they will meet their $50,000 goal. Ntwatwa attributes this increase to the amazing efforts of the organizers of the run and the AIDS Community Resources and the support of the community. “It was an unprecedented, turnout and I hope even more people participate next year and continue to break the fund-raising record till the word is rid of HIV/AIDS.”
Ntwatwa also made sure to especially thank Jeannine Murtaugh, Melissa Camman and those who helped plan the event for all of their hard work and for helping make the event so successful.