One of the most moving stories to come out of this year’sAIDS Walkwas that of Bette Byrnes, who AIDS Action’s Rebecca Haag honored for her tireless support, tremendous spirit and remarkable fundraising achievements. Bette lost her son to AIDS and in his loving memory she has been an inspirational volunteer, walker, fundraiser and friend. Bay Windows publisheda story about Bettethis week that is worth reading.
Even before she set off from the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell to participate in the 23rd annual AIDS Walk Boston on June 1, Bette Byrnes had already completed a long journey. As she has since moving away from Boston in 2002, Byrnes boarded a plane from her home in Clearwater, Florida, to participate in this year’s walk.
Byrnes first did the AIDS Walk, a fundraiser for AIDS Action Committee, in 1991, after her son, John Norris, was diagnosed with AIDS. Norris succumbed to the disease in 1994 at the age of 34, but Byrnes has kept on walking. Her son would have wanted her to, she said. “I think it’s very important that [HIV/AIDS] is recognized, that it is never forgotten and I don’t want people to forget that all of these young people died,” said Byrnes. She also walks for herself. “It’s a good feeling for me to do it,” she explained. “I feel very close to John when I am doing it. So it’s very special.”
But AIDS Walk Boston is much more than personal for Byrnes: To date, she and the walking team she organizes each year have raised more than $250,000 for AIDS Action Committee. This year, Byrnes was singled out for special recognition at the walk’s opening ceremonies by AAC Executive Director Rebecca Haag, who said Byrnes embodied the inspirational qualities of “loyalty, commitment to family and community, and faithful remembrance.”Read the full article.