September 26th, 2009 marked the 23rd year of bringing together the Puget Sound to increase awareness and fight HIV and AIDS. The Lifelong Aids Alliance (#2) was this years proud supporter of the walk and organized a great event through Seattle's Capital Hill, starting at Volunteer Park. Any aptly named park, no?
Course for walk
I joined the University of Washington School of Medicine team, without knowing a sole. From the lengthly list of e-mails, I learned that a group of highly motivated medical students could raise over $1001, including $138.30 from a "clandestine bake sale!"
After a quick breakfast, the morning of, at one of the second year's houses we trekked through her back yard and up the hill to the registration tent. For the day of the race, our team wore UW gear to show our support and cohesiveness. The following Monday, in order to continue to show our support, we planed to wear our red AIDS Walk t-shirts.
Lifelong AIDS Alliance Video
So, why did I walk?
During my month long, medical school rotation in Guyana, South America, I worked with HOPE House Orphanage in Enmore, Guyana. Here, I became known as “Uncle Alex” to 42 boys and girls.
These children were full of life, yet so starved for emotional and physical attention. Over the month, I visited the orphanage, working closely with the children, the orphanage staff, and outside physicians to provide much needed healthcare for these children and the staff that cared for them.
Dr. Alex and Vikash (4 months old)
There is an ever so common story in Guyana and sadly 4 month old Vikash lives it. Vikash was abandoned in a hospital, by this unmarried mother a few days after his birth for being born and infected with HIV. Every year, there are hundreds of children disowned and forgotten because of their inherited infection. Luckily, The Hope House Orphanage in Enmore, Guyana, saved Vikash and provided him with an opportunity to live, a new family of 40 brothers and sisters, and enduring love. Here Vikash and I are sitting and cheering on his brothers and sisters at the 2nd Annual Sports Day, sponsored by the orphanage to teach the children that “by working together we can accomplish so much more.”
Dr. Rebecca and Faith (3 years old)
Just two children out of many at the orphanage that where HIV positive and whom we were able to spend a day with; making their lives a tiny bit brighter. These photos were taken on August 2005 in
, Enmore, Guyana South America.
Every child has a right to – Life, a Name, a Family, and to feel Loved (inscription from a monument in the Georgetown National Park, Guyana).
Our UW SOM walking team
And, yes there are manatees in the National Park, that will feed right out of your hand.
Thanks for reading,