Thousands Walk for HIV/AIDS Initiatives

Foundation Raises Millions to Fight HIV/AIDS and Spread Awareness

Photos Nadeen Shaker

Quebec’s leading HIV/AIDS foundation hosted their 19th annual fundraising walk on Sept. 18.

The Farha Foundation, which hosted Ça Marche, is in the middle of a campaign to raise $400,000 by Dec. 1 of this year–with $300,000 raised so far.

Proceeds will be distributed among local organizations that help those living with HIV/AIDS. There are currently 20,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Quebec.

“I am living proof of the success of the Farha Foundation,” said Andrie Despere, who was diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago. “Today is the day that HIV patients stand equal [with everyone else],” he continued.

The walk started at Émilie-Gamelin Park outside of Berri-UQAM Metro and took participants on a seven kilometer tour of the downtown.

Despere hopes that the foundation’s efforts will help dispel the stigma, Despere said it still exists for those living with the HIV/AIDS.

In addition to funding awareness and education programs, the foundation’s proceeds go to organizations that provide housing, palliative care, counseling, medication and food to those living with the disease.

Created in 1992 by Ron Farha, a Montreal business man who had been diagnosed with AIDS, the Farha Foundation has distributed over $8 million to organizations in Quebec.