Hudson Resident Raises $800 for 2012 AIDS Walk Boston & 5K Run
Hudson resident Anna Tary raised $800 for this year’s AIDS Walk Boston & 5K Run. Tary, 50, has been raising money for AIDS Walk Boston and 5K Run for 22 years and volunteering at the Walk for 17. Unlike so many others who’ve been involved with the Walk for decades, Tary doesn’t have a personal connection with AIDS.
“I just watched this story unfold from day one and I felt badly for the people involved,” she says. “After a certain point, it was when Freddie Mercury died, I said, ‘That’s it. I’ve got to do something.’”
So she started raising money for the Walk. At the time, she was one of a handful of women working a blue-collar factory job. “Those guys gave me so much crap for hanging out with gays,” she says. Some of her friends and family were a little leery of her involvement as well. As was typical of the mid-1980s, there was widespread fear and misunderstanding about how HIV was transmitted and Tary’s friends told her that they “wouldn’t come near” her if she attended the AIDS Walk.
But she did it anyway. “I would cry in the early years,” she recalls. “I was absolutely horrified. So many people were sick and dying and there was nothing you could do.”
The first AIDS Walks were almost like theatrical political marches. Tary enthusiastically went along with the tone and devised an elaborate Carmen Miranda hat with plastic fruit and a straw hat. Eventually she added a banana-shaped bubble blower to the get up. She’s long since abandoned the hat but continues to amuse Walker each year with the bubble blower, which she rigs up to a holster around her neck. “I like to work it and make people laugh,” she says.
She aims for $1,000 in funds raised each year and usually hits between $500 and $800. Tary admits that it’s getting harder and harder to raise money. Today, Tary says, she is actually angrier about the lack of attention paid to AIDS than what it was like in the 1980s. “We are so close to beating this disease,” she says. “But not if people stop paying attention.”
The 27th annual AIDS Walk & 5K Run drew approximately 10,000 participants and raised nearly $1 million for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. The Walk is AIDS Action’s largest annual fundraiser.