Dancer Diaries: UCLA Students Moved by Mothers to Take A Stand

By Sydney Van Horn | November 4, 2013

Students from the UCLA Pediatric AIDS Coalition (PAC) watch EGPAF’s “Countdown to an AIDS-Free Generation” video.

Sydney Van Horn/ EGPAF

As the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation’s (EGPAF) Development Coordinator, Sydney Van Horn supports college students across the nation as they host the best dance party of their lives! EGPAF’s UP 4 THE FIGHT Dance Marathons raise awareness and money to help continue the fight to eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS. Stay tuned for more of Sydney’s Dancer Diaries!

Sometimes my job leaves me in awe -- the amazing group of students I meet during my UP 4 THE FIGHT advising  trips frequently give me in chills with their words and their passion.  But what I witnessed during my visit to  University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)  last week particularly moved me.

Members of UCLA’s Pediatric AIDS Coalition (PAC) entered their first general committee meeting of the year with great enthusiasm – cheering and running down the stairs to take their seats. But, their smiles faltered and jaws dropped once the meeting kicked-off with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)’s “Countdown to an AIDS-Free Generation” video, which emphasizes the effect of HIV/AIDS on  everyday people and the progress EGPAF helped make in the past 25 years to eliminate this disease.

PAC’s Cause Director Perry Friedlander led several interactive activities to help the students understand the challenges women face in accessing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services. As Friedlander demonstrated the various reasons why women don’t receive treatment, such as stigma, lack of access to treatment facilities, and cultural barriers, the room became still as the weight of these facts hung in the air.

“The cards are stacked against women and children in developing nations,” Friedlander told students after the presentation. “We need to be the advocate for these women and children.  Our goal is that everyone in this room always stays standing, that no child is born HIV-positive. We have the power to reach an AIDS-free generation, TODAY.”

Every day I am inspired by the individuals I work with, especially my students. The passion they have to help each of the 700 children born HIV-positive every day and their families is something that cannot be rivaled. They are UP 4 THE FIGHT against pediatric HIV/AIDS. Are you?

Unite your campus and community and join our students as they stand UP 4 THE FIGHT against pediatric HIV/AIDS.