Walking Through Loss
Over the years I have participating in many kinds of community events, fundraisers and causes. I've built wheel chair ramps, given massage to weary athletes, popped out of a coffin for Halloween, all in the spirit of giving back to the community and often to build awareness of my business.
This weekend, I am participating in such an event - the Winter Walk for AIDS, which benefits Triad Health Project here in Greensboro, NC. I added a promotion to draw perhaps a few extra dollars or new clients (Basically anyone who makes a donation through me of over $5 will receive $10 off any massage session or purchase at Spalutions Massage. (www.SpalutionsMassage.com). Give $40 or more and you'll actually earn a FREE 30 minute massage with yours truly.)
The promotion has caused higher donations and excited people for sure!
I am thrilled to say that I have officially hit my fundraising goal of $250 and am just $27 short of doubling it. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far - and for everyone who will do so. If you want to contribute, the information is at the end of this post.
I wanted to share a bit of background about why doing this event is important to me - along with supporting Triad Health Project...
I grew up figure skating as did my mother. As a result when she first came to Greensboro, she made many of her friends in the skating community. Some of the folks who skated were gay men - and these guys welcomed my mom and her eccentric "yankee" ways with open arms into the gay community. As a result she spent a lot of time with her new Southern family and introduced me to many of them.
These friends of hers became friends of mine...many were father and brother figures to me and helped me deal with the loss of my father when I was 10 as well the passing of my grandparents that I lived with when I was 12 and 16 - and eventually the unexpected loss of my mother when I was 20.
These guys took me to movies, concerts and shared cool music with me. Dean planted daylillies and irises in the garden with us and taught me how to drive before I was old enough. Frank and I made cookies and bread, played Heart and Soul on the piano, went swimming and had cookouts together. Chris played cards and backgammon with me and helped my mom and grandmother around the house.
Some gave me piggy back rides and tucked me in at night. Those that skated like Dean, Bennie, Eric, Jim and Steve did so with me, some taking time to teach me routines and moves from Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice; others giving me rides to the rink and someone to practice with.
All of them shared their time, friendship and love with a young girl. They were like part of my extended family as many of you are now.
Then one by one, many of them got sick with a mysterious illness. The gay cancer. AIDS. These beautiful, vibrant, warm-hearted, funny men started disappearing from my life because of AIDS. Some told me and my mother. Others were too ashamed to share the news. But as they lost their health, weight and looks, the rumors would swirl and we all knew the truth anyway.
For years I have purposely stayed away from this event because I felt it would be too somber and sad a way to spend my birthday. But this year I finally realized that by walking/running in it and honoring them I could make it a happy event.
Participating in Winter Walk this year is my way of celebrating their lives as well as my own (it is my birthday after all) and saying...
THANK YOU - I LOVE YOU - YOU WERE VALUED - YOU ARE MISSED - YOU MADE A REAL DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE to...
Dean, Frank, Bennie, Eric, Steve, Jim, Chris, Gerald, Rocky, Michael, Gary, Mickey, John, Keith, Mark and Mark (and anyone else who has or that died from HIV/AIDS and/or who was too scared or ashamed to tell me.) You have all touched my life.
Thank you for helping me honor them with your donation and just by holding them all in your heart as I have for all these years.
Make a donation - click here - THANK YOU!!