To the friends and supporters of the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA,
From the start, this organization has had one central purpose: creating a world free of pediatric HIV/AIDS and advocating for the health of those involved with and affected by our cause. It is with that intention that, with great sadness and disappointment, the Pediatric AIDS Coalition and PAC’s Steering Committee have decided to cancel Dance Marathon 2020 in response to the spread of COVID-19.
Although we will not be hosting our main event in Pauley Pavilion on April 18th, the fight for an AIDS-free generation has never started at check in nor does it end at the last morale dance. It’s a fight against stigma, structural barriers to healthcare, and an ongoing commitment to educate others. In this time of uncertainty, we look back to those who came before us – LGBTQ+ activists who were fearless in the face of an epidemic, and whose spirit we hope to embody in the coming weeks.
Thank you to our donors who have helped us raise nearly $130,000 for our beneficiaries – providing resources for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to provide antiretroviral therapy and support services to HIV-affected populations across the globe, funding camps and retreats for children affected by and living with HIV/AIDS through the Laurel Foundation, and providing financial aid to research grants through the UCLA AIDS Institute. Thank you to our supporters and volunteers, and to those who have already registered for Dance Marathon. Thank you to the 150+ dedicated members of the Pediatric AIDS Coalition’s General Committee, who have given their time, heart, and souls in the name of the cause. From canning on early Sunday mornings to late nights spent outreaching, to fighting stigma each and every day, you have proven time and time again what it means to be invaluable advocates of the cause.
The Pediatric AIDS Coalition started as Dance Marathon at UCLA, but has evolved to be so much more. From our Cause Awareness Week in the fall and various other educational campaigns, to the mentorships, tutoring sessions, and the winter camp we hosted for the children of the Laurel Foundation, we have sought to impact and help communities beyond just one event. Though we are devastated to not be dancing for 26 hours with you all this spring, we will continue to fundraise for our beneficiaries and advocate for the cause. Please stay tuned for updates on how we will spread the love of Dance Marathon in the coming weeks.
When there’s a cure, we’ll dance for joy. Until then, we dance for life.
With love & hope,
Sophie Ahmad, Katie Melnick, Sarah Sullivan, Appurva Goel, and Nina Enholm
The Pediatric AIDS Coalition Executive Board 2020