Irene reminded me about the AIDS SF Walk three days ago, and I decided to do it. I felt bad for starting late, so I made a pledge of raising at least $50 for AIDS research.
With the help of many sponsors, I raised a total of $85 in three days.
I was the first one at the BART station this morning, and I waited in my parents' car for the rest of the crew to arrive. I would not know anyone in the group. I was the only on in my high school going in a different high school's group. And this school happens to be our top marching band rival. But, we weren't going to go there.
The ride over was quiet and drowsy. Irene set the meeting time at 7:45AM even though the walk started at 10:30AM. She likes to be on time. I chatted briefly with some members of our group and I quickly befriended Hanna, a rising junior and the next co-president of the GSA at her high school after Irene graduated. Our walking group consisted of around 15 people, 5 of which were adults. I met Mr. Pang, who was the trumpet section leader in the PVHS marching band in 2001. He now teaches math at ECHS and is the head of the juggling club. We chatted at the BART station and he also talked to Hanna and I about Chinese rowing while we were on the MUNI. He is a very cultured, very wise, and very short man.
Getting to the city is always an adventure. BART and MUNI were especially crowded. There were a lot of people going to the walk. 25,000 people were expected to walk this year. We popped off the MUNI and walked over to register. Irene checked us into the GSA table where we got a breakfast of tubed yogurt and granola bars. For those of us that raised money, we turned in our funds at a different table. Irene spread some of her funds over to mine so that I could get a T-shirt.
The walk started randomly when a huge group of people started to move out to the road. We joined in on the crowded, screaming excitement. The last time I did a walk in San Francisco was in 2008 for the Bay to Breakers. I was excited that I was involved in something bigger and with a stronger purpose. While walking, I got to talk to Irene more about the ECHS GSA and prepping for college life at Brown. We swapped short life stories as we walked about. There were many attractions along the way including the Cal and Stanford marching bands, various radio stations, and countless canines with t-shirts that Irene would squeal over whenever we passed one.
Although we broke from the main crowd when we stopped for a bathroom break, the experience was amazing. Overall, the AIDS SF Walk raised $3,011,245. I am still not sure how many people walked but it seemed like a million. That's just me and my hyperbole. Don't trust me with that. I am glad that I got to know the ECHS GSA and all the amazing people that make it possible. It is also fun to teach them African dance moves in the BART station. Also, Tina needs to be cultured. It will happen very soon.
I am proud to be a walker.