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We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, May 21, 11:30-1:00, for a special benefit class!

Michael Fitta, longtime member of the HYF community (read more about Michael here) is gearing up for his annual participation in the AIDS Walk and Run Boston event on June 4. This event raises money for the prevention of new infections and support of those living with HIV/AIDS. A $20 suggested donation will help Michael and his team reach their fundraising goal. Any donation amount is appreciated, and all money will go directly to Michael’s Walk team.

Here is a link to Michael’s AIDS Walk page. You can make a donation there if you’re not able to come to the donation class. 

Michael was kind enough to answer a few questions about this fundraiser and his motivation for being so actively involved year after year. Read on, and please join us next Sunday, May 21, to support a great cause and a well-loved member of our community.

How far do you walk? Do you train for the walk?

The AIDS Walk in Boston is a 10K walk, which is roughly 6.5 miles. It’s not something that I have to train for, per se, as long as I am keeping up with my regular fitness routine of walking, running, cycling and, of course, Bikram yoga! It takes me roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. It’s a great day of high spirits and comraderie among hundreds of people who are all walking for the same great cause, to support the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts!

What inspires you to fundraise and walk every year?

I have many friends who live with HIV on a daily basis, and I have also lost friends and loved ones to AIDS. I walk in their honor and memory, in the hopes that I can better the lives of people who live with HIV, and contribute toward the eradication of the disease.

I mention my cousin Jack specifically because he died of AIDS in the early years of the epidemic, when there was still much stigma attached to AIDS and HIV. At the time of his death, there were few in my family who were willing to talk about how he died at his young age. There was silence around the issue of AIDS at the time. Now, Many members of my family contribute to my walk in Jack’s honor and that silence has been largely broken and the stigma dispelled.

I’ve been walking for 10 consecutive years now in AIDS Walk Boston and raised almost $20,000 thanks to the generosity of my fantastic donors! But I remember the first time I participated in the Walk was in 1988, the second annual Boston AIDS Walk. It was hard for me to get people to donate money for the cause at that time. I think I was only able to raise %65 that year, and I was discouraged. From $65 to $20,000 one step at a time, one Walk at a time.

Does your time in the hot room have any effect on your experience?

I believe that my yoga practice opens me to a desire to live more compassionately, to want to do good in the world. My Bikram practice also gives me so much in terms of my general physical good health and vitality. It is important for me to employ that good health and vitality to help this who are not as fortunate. There, but for the grace of God, go I. The Walk is very meaningful to me, but it is the generosity of donors who give each step I take the power to change for the better the lives of people affected by HIV and AIDS. I hope many in our community will come out and join us at our benefit class and make this AIDS walk a success with donations and, of course, a little sweat!

Thanks, Michael! Glad we can support your efforts!
–Ellen Olson-Brown, The Hot Yoga Factory Chelmsford


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