I just love springtime in Las Vegas, especially when the sun is out and the wind isn’t blowing and I can drive around with the top down on the Divamobile. It’s absolutely the perfect time to be outdoors and go for a walk and what better opportunity than the AIDS Walk.
Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) has led the AIDS Walk for the last two decades with individuals, walking teams, local businesses and organizations including Target, UNLV, Wells Fargo Bank and Penn & Teller making up the fund raising force. Last year alone, the event attracted more than 8,000 walkers and raised more than a half million dollars. AFAN uses these funds throughout the year to provide support and advocacy for adults and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and works to reduce HIV infection through prevention education in southern Nevada.
So on a beautiful Sunday morning I gathered with my fellow walkers in the parking lot of the World Market Center in downtown Las Vegas. The pre-walk festivities included performances by dancers from Cher’s show at Caesar’s Palace and singer Josh Strickland from Planet Hollywood’s Peepshow and a wide array of sponsor booths like Reebok and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Even Project Sole was there — a non-profit that takes your donations of gently used athletic shoes and gives them to those in underprivileged communities throughout the world. I gave them my running shoes that I wore in my first 5K last year.
If you read my column regularly you would have seen that I have been making a pitch for donations for the last two weeks for the team I joined named “Las Vegas Tweeting Divas.” I met up with my teammates — fearless leader Jill Marie Garza-Cantor and her Mom, along with Beth O’Bannon and Lori Cox — at 8:30am near the registration area and we wandered around and waited for the walk to begin. And we waited and wandered some more. None of us noticed that the actual start time to the actual walk wasn’t until 10:30am and while we were all smart and slathered on the sunscreen we were all getting a little warm and a teeny bit red anyway. I started just rotating so that the sun wasn’t lingering on any one part for any length of time in hopes of avoiding a repeat of last weekend’s sunburn. Jill and I joked about me being a “Rotisserie Diva” while we waited for the actual walk to start.
Even though I am not much of a morning person I do think that having the walk start at 10:30am is not the wisest idea as even the pets attending the event (which are not only allowed but encouraged) were beginning to have a difficult time dealing with the 80-plus degree heat of the day. The Fiji Water booth could barely keep up with the demand of the thousands in attendance. Also the route really should be redone as there are nowhere near enough shady spots. But those are minor complaints as the Walk highlights included the band The Clydesdale (which I mentioned a few weeks ago here) as one of several entertainment diversions along the path and I would have loved to have stopped and listened for a while but my teammates kept me moving along.
Well, I’m proud to announce that as I write this our team raised $190.00 and I do believe we all avoided major sunburns. Thank you Jill for being a great leader and for allowing me to use a couple of your pictures since the battery in my pocket camera gave out before we even started walking.