Thirty years ago, Francine’s closest friend was diagnosed with AIDS and lived about only 30 months longer. As Francine and her husband visited her during those painful months, they saw how GMHC – Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization – was the one source of help. She promised her friend to do everything possible, so no one else would have to suffer that way, and ever since then Francine’s kept her promise.
AIDS WALK NEW YORK is famously the world’s biggest single-day fundraiser for AIDS, and over the years our family has known Francine, I’ve seen first hand it’s always the right month, the right day, the right time and place for her to ask someone to sponsor her. She’s seriously dedicated to raise funds to help – through GMHC’s prevention, care and advocacy programs – thousands of people affected by the disease in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
A quarter century ago, AIDS touched my family. Touched? It slammed, smashed and destroyed someone I grew up with and loved and wordlessly expected would be around – would BE – for so many more days and decades. It’s a big reason I’ve joined countless others cheering Francine on.
May 20th, the day of the walk, is a couple of weeks away, and Francine’s about $15,000 away from raising $600,000. For 30 years and counting, she’s been running a marathon, and her white and red race shirt says: “AIDS WALK NEW YORK • GMHC END AIDS. LIVE LIFE.”
UPDATE May 13, 2018: Francine’s about $9,600 away from her goal, and AIDS WALK 2018 is a week away.
Sunday, New Year’s Eve, I turned off the TV and headed to bed soon after watching the ball drop in Times Square. But this unusually low-key start to 2018 was necessary, for by lunchtime the next day, I’d covered the Inaugurations of three Democrats – LAURA CURRAN, LAURA GILLEN, and SYLVIA CABANA – replacing three GOP office holders here in Nassau County.
Though it was New Year’s Day morning, close to a packed house at Hofstra University’s Adams Playhouse watched New York Lt. Governor KATHY HOCHUL and Congresswoman KATHLEEN RICE swear-in Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen and Hon. MICHAELLE SOLAGES swear-in Hempstead Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana.
Hempstead, New York, USA. Jan. 1, 2018. NYS Lt. Governor KATHY HOCHUL (in green dress) and Congresswoman KATHLEEN RICE (seen partly behind podium) swear-in LAURA GILLEN (center) as Hempstead Town Supervisor, at Hofstra University. (Ann Parry/Ann Parry, ann-parry.com)
U.S. Senator CHUCK SCHUMER was a speaker at both the Town of Hempstead and County County Inaugural ceremonies.
About an hour after that, and even though it was a bone-chilling 14 ℉ / -10 ℃, a thick arc of bundled-up onlookers stood thisclose together in front of the Theodore Roosevelt Legislative & Executive Building to witness Gov. ANDREW CUOMO administer the Oath of Office to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
It was a doubly historic day for Long Island. Before Laura Gillen took office, Town of Hempstead hadn’t had a Democratic Supervisor in over a century; plus, Laura Curran is the very first female Nassau County Executive.
Town of Hempstead/Nassau County Inaugurations: VIDEO