Louisville AIDS Walk & Pet Walk

The Voice-Tribune met up with AIDS Walk participants so they could share their stories.

QUOTES COLLECTED BY TARA BASSETT • PHOTOS BY TIM VALENTINO

Tara Bassett and Diane Garner

Tara Bassett and Diane Garner

I’m walking because I want to support HIV/AIDS awareness. My son is HIV+ and thankfully because of medicines and all the research through the years, he’s living well, along with other loved ones I know. It’s a specific part of the community that really needs support for what they go through. The money raised through this walk’s fundraising is going to help them with a lot of necessities. A lot of people with HIV are abandoned by their families and they need extra help…emergency housing and more. This walk says we’re going to take care of them and they’re going to be ok.
-Diane Garner

Congressman John Yarmuth and Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman.

Congressman John Yarmuth and Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman.

  We’re all walking to call attention to the fact that AIDS and HIV haven’t been cured. They’re still a big problem in society, and we need to continue to work to get rid of it, and secondly, to raise money for support services for those who are dealing with the challenge of this disease. It’s a very, very important event.
-John Yarmuth

I’m walking because people don’t pay attention to the AIDS crisis as they once did, and it’s still a scourge of the community. More attention needs to be paid to it and this is a way to do it.
-Susan Wettle

Diana Rae and William Nicole Jackson Valentino.

Diana Rae and William Nicole Jackson Valentino.

I’m walking because this is something that affects our community and is near and dear to my heart. I got a lot of friends who have HIV and AIDS, and I lost some of them…so I’m here every year to support the community and show that we are one and special and that we come together for a good cause.
-William Jackson, aka “Nicole Jackson Valentino”

Oakley with Jamie and Mark Lausch, Davis Martin and Geneva, Leighann and Damon Martin.

Oakley with Jamie and Mark Lausch, Davis Martin and Geneva, Leighann and Damon Martin.

I’m walking in memory of my husband Greg Lawrence, who passed away in May of 2014. We were together 20 years. In March, he was diagnosed with HIV and the doctors didn’t get him on his medication fast enough. By May, he had passed away. That day was the day we were going to Illinois to make our union legal, since at that time Kentucky didn’t recognize it. Being with him for 20 years and raising both his kids together, I didn’t have the opportunity to marry the love of my life.
-Davis Martin