Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Los Angeles AIDS WALK

My first exposure to HIV/AIDS was when I lived in downtown New York City with my friend Fidel, more than a decade ago. His brother had been HIV positive for quite a long time. I’m not exactly sure for how long. Fidel came from a family of four boys.

Fidel was my best friend at the time. We watched his little brother die, together. I’ll never forget the day of the funeral. It was so unbelievably sad. I can still remember the look on his mother’s face – it broke my heart. Fidel’s mother died within the week of a heart attack. My thoughts at the time were: watching her son die – quite literally – broke her heart.

This is the reason that participating in the Los Angeles AIDS Walk was so special to me.

And this is how it all happened. I was hanging out in a great little coffee shop out here on Pico Street called UnUrban. I picked up LA Weekly and I saw an ad for the The Los Angeles Aids Walk. The next morning I went in to work and suggested to my team that we cover it.

I work with such wonderful guys (and a gal.) Tony Kucenski is my Executive Producer (read “my better half”). Joe Doughrity is my writer/field producer – his energy is infectious! Lance is my editor (he’s actually known as “Crabby” because his last name is Crabtree, which is ironic because he is the least grumpy person I have ever met!). Kirstin Gundersen is my graphic artist, she’s quite simply a doll. Jason is my webmaster, also a super sweet doll. Dave Freeman is my lead editor and perhaps the most laid back man I have ever met (he has to be, he deals with me on a daily basis! … read nightmare.)

So everyone was game to cover the event! Not to sound too cliché, but it was an amazing experience. Simply the fact that there was so much joy – and so much hope – at an event celebrating a disease riddled with so much sadness.

It gave me hope.

So don’t forget to check out the three-part series that is up on the Web right now, at either, or

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