“I have seen the great advancements in care and how that has truly impacted the quality of life of those living with HIV. I believe people with HIV are now able to live a long and healthy life long beyond what they ever thought was possible.
"Two years ago, I lost a very close friend to complications of advanced HIV, and it really made me realize people are still struggling.
"Unfortunately, with these new advances, many young people downplay their risk and engage in risky behaviors, as they never witnessed entire generations being decimated by the disease.
"I have had to tell young patients that they are HIV-positive and watch their faces when they hear the news. Three of my close friends have all become HIV-positive in the last few years.
"I believe events like Concrete Hero bring the community together and awareness to the fact that this disease is still here and it still needs critical funds that are being cut every year in order to help those living with HIV and to further the research in order to find a vaccine or even a possible cure.”
“During my junior years, I worked as a field nurse program at General Hospital in Los Angeles and was assigned to work with people living with HIV and AIDS. At the time, many of us were misinformed and terrified that we would get AIDS from basic exposure to those already infected. I have horrible regrets from that time – when even trained medical staff didn’t properly care for those who were HIV-positive. I took a few days to research the facts and came back to see him without unnecessary ‘protective gear’ and wanted to motivate and nurture him, but he had passed. I was devastated.
"Concrete Hero is my chance to give back to people who represent that one person that I could not help. I will be given the opportunity to race for him and give him the proper thank you for educating a young girl who came with no real information on how to serve people with this disease and to educate others, especially the young people.”