Youth Center Leader Urges People to “Run With Him”

The annual Philadelphia AIDS Walk takes place on Sunday. The goal of the event is to raise money locally for HIV prevention, education and services.

One of the participants this year has a very special message.

“HIV is just a diagnosis, it is not a destiny,” said Will Brawner, founder and executive director of the Haven Youth Center.

Will was diagnosed with HIV when he was 18-months old after a tainted blood transfusion. As a child, Will dreamed of a place where he could go and speak openly about himself.

He founded the Haven Youth Center to give others who were HIV positive the opportunity to do just that. The center is open for anyone from 13 to 24 who has HIV or has a loved one or family member with HIV.

“We have kids who come in and out of here who just really don’t have anywhere else to go to talk about what’s going on,” said Will.

Will hopes that the campaign model for his team, “Run with Will,” will encourage others who are participating in the event.

“The bottom line is that you can do it,” said Will. “That is it, you can do it.”

The AIDS Walk takes place on Sunday, October 18. Registration begins at 7 a.m. in front of the art museum at Eakins Oval. Participants can either compete in the walk or the 5K run.

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