Blog / China AIDS Walk Climbs the Great Wall for Love
China AIDS Walk Climbs the Great Wall for Love
On 20 September 2014, the China AIDS Walk took place in Beijing under clear and sunny skies. It was the third time that the China AIDS Walk Team organized the event. More than 140 walkers from different nationalities and communities took part. Dressed in red China AIDS Walk T-shirts, they all completed a four-hour hike on the Mutianyu Great Wall. The walkers took a powerful stance against HIV/AIDS-related stigma, raising public awareness and social understanding on HIV/AIDS issues, and embodying the China AIDS Walk slogan “Take Action, Make a Difference”.
The Experiences of a “Super Speaker”
Ken (Zhang Jinxiong), who took part in the Anhui TV Show “Super Speaker”, was a prominent China AIDS Walker. At the 12th beacon tower of the Mutianyu Great Wall, Ken held a “Free Hug” advocacy activity, giving away free hugs to all China AIDS Walkers and passers-by. With his activity, he hoped to increase public acceptance of people living with HIV/AIDS. Sharing his personal life story, he told people to stop irrational fears of HIV/AIDS, and he encouraged HIV-positive persons to keep a positive and healthy look on life. Ken inspired the public to use the power of love to eliminate stigma, and spurred everybody on to smile to end AIDS.
The Youngest Walker
The youngest walker this year was Miaomiao (pseudonym) from Beijing. Lead by her mother, she completed the full four-hour hike. When asked why she participated in the event, she said: “Though I don’t really know that much about AIDS, I know that these people should not be discriminated against. They should also lead a happy and joyful life.” She also said that her mother told her to treat every illness with the proper attitude: only concern, love and a vigorous treatment can lead to the vanquishing of an illness. Miaomiao also hugged Ken, and took a picture with him. She said that she hoped he would get better soon, and that she would take him on a Great Wall hike by herself once she grew up.
A Run for Love
At the 13th beacon tower of the Mutianyu Great Wall, volunteers organized a race to the 14th beacon tower. Three handsome fellows won and received a prize. One of them, a college student from the Beijing City Red Cross AIDS Prevention Core Group, said that he often participated in outdoor welfare activities. He said that the China AIDS Walk was the event that excited and moved him the most, and that he would remember it for all his life. He hoped that the day would soon come when humankind would overcome AIDS. A volunteer from the grassroots HIV-prevention NGO “Rainbow Center” concurred with his fellow walker, and wished the fight against AIDS well.
A Volunteer from Afar
Hollywood actor Brian Newkirk was the top fundraiser of the two last editions of the China AIDS Walk. This year, he came to the Walk after finishing a shoot in Africa. At the China AIDS Walk closing ceremony, he talked of his close friends who passed away from AIDS-related illnesses. One of their wishes was to climb the China Great Wall. Brian talked on how he feels connected to them, how he remembers and loves them with every step he takes on the Great Wall. During the past ten years, AIDS took away too many lives. The living have a mission to make sure that no more people get swept away by the disease. Hand in hand we have to stand up to AIDS, and everybody should work towards the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Corporate Social Responsibility
At the event, some enterprises showed their commitment to welfare, and brought some small gifts. DKT sponsored the 2013 China AIDS Walk, and this year they got everybody to write down their wishes on cards and send them to friends. The cards included a newly designed condom produced by DKT China. The Corporate Social Responsibility officer of DKT China, Ms. Julie, expressed her hope for more enterprises to pay attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and to help in making the “Getting to Zero” goal into a reality. Danlan Welfare also provided prizes and gifts to all the walkers.
On this fine autumn day, the 140 walkers truly lit up the Great Wall. They succeeded in achieving the goals of the China AIDS Walk organizers, as expressed by this program officer: “We hope to use walking as a means to express and transmit love. We want to make sure that more people affected by HIV/AIDS can look forward with dignity and confidence to the day that the AIDS epidemic fully ends. That is why we walk, and why we will keep on walking as long as it takes.”
About the China AIDS Walk
The China AIDS Walk is the first large-scale HIV/AIDS public fundraising project in China. Started in 2012, it raises public awareness about HIV/AIDS, strives to eliminate HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, and raises funds for social projects working on HIV/AIDS issues, benefiting people affected by HIV/AIDS and anti-discrimination initiatives in China. This year, the China AIDS Walk organizes events in Beijing, Taiyuan and Guangzhou.
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