Supporting my uncle means supporting a community

June 27, 2018

By Isabella Guzman

I was invited and inspired by my uncle, Armando Ramirez, whom I love very much, to participate in AIDS Run & Walk Chicago 6 years ago. He was diagnosed with HIV 14 years ago. All I knew at that time was that I was going to be supportive and have fun with my mom and uncles. I would get my own shirt and my own running number and that was exciting in itself!

My first experience participating was fun because I was able to enjoy the view of the downtown area and I was going to be with my family. When I was there, the atmosphere felt lively, incredible and fun! We met people participating in the little tents that were set up all over the field and I felt alive and free! When the event was over, I felt really good; like I was emotionally raised in joy and spirit. I felt like I did something good for others.

My favorite thing about this event is that I’m able to do something good for a family member and for others who need support from us. I will continue to attend AIDS Run & Walk Chicago because I love to share and volunteer my time for those who cannot get the help and support they actually need. I have invited others to participate in this event and, although I haven’t seen as many people as I’ve invited, that will not persuade me to stop the invitations! I will continue spreading the word in hopes that many people will join this great cause.

AIDS Run & Walk Chicago provides me with a platform to share the importance of this organization and how much more work we need to do together, as people. My uncle needs help and support, and so many others are in need of the togetherness that the AIDS Foundation of Chicago brings to individuals and families.

What I am looking for this year is to tell those that have HIV or AIDS that there are so many people out there just like them and they are not alone in this world. We are all here to help and getting help brings a sense of happiness. My goal for this year is to share awareness and spread the word! One way to help is to unite, fundraise and participate in AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. If there is someone out there who is “thinking” of going, DON’T THINK, just do it! Not only would it help in our fundraising goal but you would have so much fun in the process. From walking or running to meeting new people, it’s definitely a great time for all ages to enjoy. This day allows me to be there for others, which is something that my mom has instilled in me since I was much younger. I feel great humility in helping others, being supportive and being part of the foundation gives me more of an understanding as to how blessed I am. I feel very good about myself and I feel happy! I hope to see you this year at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. If you see me, say, HI!

My name is Isabella and I’m empathetic and passionate.


Isabella Guzman is 11 years old and will be 12 on July 16. She lives with her family, including her two teddy bear dogs Deisy and Lulu, near the Midway airport where she loves watching the airplanes pass by.

Categorized under Advocacy, Chicago, Inside Story and Special events.

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