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Kansas City MO 64131

AIDS SWIM 2013

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AIDS SWIM 2013

Cindy Maddera

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The forecast for Saturday was partly cloudy with a high of 75. The weathermen here are delusional. Saturday morning greeted us with rain and drizzle. The park where the AIDS Walk was set up was already soggy from the previous day's downpour. So I of course wore the wrong shoes. I picked walking shoes when I should have picked waterproof shoes. All of the water was completely absorbed by my socks, shoes and feet within minutes of walking onto the field. Then I found the guys manning the tent for the Memorial flags and I didn't care that my feet were soaked.

The memorial team

I met a woman who lost her son to AIDS many years ago. She wore a shirt with his picture on it. She was too feeble to walk, but made sure that there would be someone there to carry her son's flag. Terry roped me into carrying a couple of flags commemorating the years of The AIDS Walk. I stood near the front of the stage with my flags waiting to be cued for the procession and I watched two women in the crowd comfort each other. We paraded with the memorial flags behind the Mayor in the walk. As I walked on now completely numb feet, I heard a man run up to the guy walking next to me. He was carrying a memorial banner for a lost friend. The man introduced himself and said that he also knew this friend and I heard them talking about this man they both loved. When I we got to the fountains, we split along the path and stood to the side so that the people walking could walk by and see all the flags. I stood next to a woman who was carrying a memorial banner for her friend. She lost her friend last year. She told me how wonderful all of this was and how great that they had these memorial banners. I told her that there would always be someone to carry his flag. I don't know if that was true, but I believe it is.

I carried a flag

The Kansas City AIDS walk was a different experience for me. It was definitely different from the OKC walks. Chris always did the walks with me and I couldn't help but notice his absence yesterday. And maybe that was it. I stood there listening to these stories from mothers, friends and lovers and I felt the connection. We all knew and know how it feels to lose someone from illness. And I know that Cancer (yeah..capitol C fucking cancer) is not the same as AIDS but you are still left watching that person you care the most about struggle and suffer in pain. We all know what it's like to reach that place where you're listening to doctors tell you there's nothing more they can do. It was a powerful experience.

We managed to raise $440 for AIDS Walk Kansas City. That's pretty fucking amazing. We did this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Ready to walk