2010 Roper St. Francis Healthcare Aids Walk

CHARLESTON,SC (WCSC) - The numbers are both heartbreaking and staggering.

South Carolina ranks tenth in the nation when it comes to new HIV and Aids cases.

Locally, Charleston ranks second in the state to Columbia.

To bring about awareness, medical services and change Roper Saint Francis Healthcare walked with a passion to stomp out this deadly disease during their annual Aids walk.

More than 250 people pounded the pavement Saturday with purpose at Hampton Park.

"I wanted to let the youth know that a lot of people are getting the disease and don't know it", said walk participant Tony Gambrell.

This is the second year for the Roper Saint Francis Healthcare Ryan White program walk.

Ryan White was the teenager who died from aids in 1990.

Ryan White contracted the disease when he was a young child after being diagnosed with Hemophilia and receiving blood treatments that ended up being tainted with HIV.

He was one of the first public faces with aids in the U.S. and his name lives on through numerous programs including the one here in Charleston.

"All the money raised goes into our medication endowment fund which was established in 2008 and the goal is $100,000 in 4 years and we are a third of the way there", said walk Director Ashley Redmond.

"Its time for families to quit using this as a hush hush and speak out to their children and let them know its ok to tell them anything instead of letting it go under the rug", said Gambrell

Those same sentiments were echoed by walk participant Lisa Merchant.

"The more you get to know about HIV/AIDS I think the better we can be"said Merchant.

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