AIDS Walk 2019

The short version is:

I’m participating in the Raleigh AIDS Walk and 5K Run again, and I need your help to reach my fundraising goal. I’m looking for small donations from friends and family. If everyone who reads this gives at least $5, we should hit the mark.

Click here to donate.

Click here to learn more about the event.

The long version is:

Those of you who have followed me on my evolution from “William does not run” to “William runs with some regularity” know that running is a prescription I fill for myself. When I go for a run, one of two things usually happens: Either I spend some time dissecting whatever I’m anxious about and feel better about it, or I spend some time thinking about anything else and feel less anxious as a result. Added benefits are that I burn some calories, get outside for a while, and have one extra subject to make small talk over (another source of anxiety).

Last year, I signed up for the Raleigh AIDS Walk based on my involvement with the LGBT Center of Raleigh. I’d never run in a race, and I’d never done one of those “Hey I’m gonna run for a cause so please donate money to it” things. It was a new experience, and it went better than I had any reasonable expectation for it to go — my friends and family donated close to $1000.

I also ran faster than I thought I would. While running, my pacing objective is less about “Run this fast” and more about “Don’t run too slow.” It turns out having people to keep up with or catch up to is a decent motivating force, though.

So that felt great, and I had several days of feeling good about it afterward before I began to think: “Do I have to do that again? Would I need to do it better?”

For someone with more investment in running or fundraising, the answer could be yes. But for me, someone who runs primarily for self care and to avoid intrusive, negative thoughts, the answer is: Not necessarily. It depends on how I feel.

I won’t waffle: The money is the stressful part for me. Asking for people to donate to a cause that might not be theirs is hard once. The prospect of doing it a second time has my head spinning.

There are people who have to do this sort of thing every day, and I really admire them. This event raises funds for the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina (AASC) and the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN), which are indispensable organizations for people living with HIV/AIDS in this state. They are funded through grants and generosity, and it’s the generosity that makes the biggest difference.

I’ve decided to participate in the event again, which means I’m once again asking my friends for donations to this cause. I’m running as part of team LGBT Center of Raleigh. The Center hosts free and confidential HIV/STI testing performed by the AASC twice a week, and it provides Raleigh office space for NCAAN.

My goal is lower this year. I’m not looking for a spirit bomb this time. Y’all gave more than I could have imagined giving last year, and I want to respect that. This year, I’m asking for smaller donations. If everyone who reads this post gives at least $5 — the cost of a coffee or a beer — we should hit my goal.

That means one of the best things you can do this week is share this post. This is a bigger challenge this year because I’m no longer on Facebook, which is where most of my reach was last time. If you are still on there and can share this post, I would really appreciate it.

The event is next Saturday, October 19, so we’ve got less than a week to make this happen.

Here’s the link to my donation page again, if you would prefer to share that instead of my blog:

People care more than you think. That idea is at the heart of all efforts like this one, and it’s enough to keep me moving forward.