By Kristina Jarvis
As aerobics instructors kicked off the AIDS Walk for Life to the tune of It’s Raining Men, Ryerson Students’ Union President Muhammad Ali Jabbar talked with students, all of them raising their legs in time for Sunday’s walk.
At the cry of “Go!,” students from the RSU and Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson marched forward with 6,000 other Torontonians, spilling out of Church and Wellesley streets to walk five kilometres for AIDS research and awareness.
The Toronto AIDS Walk for Life event was started in 1989 to help raise money for AIDS research in Toronto. This year, 127 cities across Canada participated in the walk-a-thon, while Toronto’s event raised more than $400,000 alone.
Ryerson raised $600 through a CESAR karaoke night and personal pledges.
Samson Romero, programming and outreach co-ordinator for CESAR, organized both the karaoke night and Ryerson’s participation in the walk this year. He was one of the many volunteers at last month’s International AIDS Conference, where he saw a sense of community that was also present at the walk.
“We need to remind people of the bigger issue, which is finding a cure,” said Romero.
Kate MacMillan, VP Student Affairs at CESAR, said she doesn’t know anyone personally with AIDS, but it’s the people she doesn’t know that make the walk important for her.
“I may have met people who I don’t know have AIDS, like on the subway,” said MacMillan. “It affects everyone.”
Jen Keystone, Senior Special Events Officer for ACT, was encouraged by the energy and momentum coming into Sunday’s event, adding students must be ready to help fight AIDS and lead the way to find a cure.
The walk surpassed its fundraising goal by more than $40,000.