A sea of red T-shirts, running shoes, tiaras and sparkles filled Churchill Square yesterday for the 19th annual ScotiaBank AIDS Walk for Life.

During the opening ceremonies, flamboyantly dressed members from the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Wild Rose (ISCWR) performed and waited to board a decorated float for the fundraiser.

“I’ve actually had three friends who’ve died of AIDS, so this affects me personally,” said Ivonna Diamonds, an ISCWR member.

“I think we need to find a cure for this and just support everybody and love everybody.”

Michael Phair, one of the members of the Mile High Marshalls who founded HIV Edmonton, reflected on how far the organization has come in 25 years.

“Today we recognize that HIV infects many different parts of society — women and men of all different ages, where at the beginning they thought it was just gay men,” he said.

“This certainly has changed. Our education efforts are much broader. There’s education about AIDS in school these days.”

The event saw 400 participants and close to $95,000 was raised.

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