With wet pavement and soggy tennis shoes, the drizzly weather was no match for this group of about 5,000 people in downtown Houston.
They were walking together for the 24th annual AIDS Walk Houston. The 5K walk was a fundraiser for AIDS Foundation Houston as well as other local HIV and AIDS service organizations.
But for many, like the mayor of Houston who showed her support, it was a chance to share a positive message.
"We really need to make sure we keep raising awareness around HIV and AIDS," Mayor Annise Parker said. "This is about the community awareness the community coming together, joining hands across organizations and across various groups in the city of Houston to show that we are committed to ending deaths from HIV and AIDS."
Among the crowd of individuals, families and corporate teams were so many people whose lives have been changed by the AIDS virus.
"My dad's brother; he died of AIDS," participant Javonte Knoxon said.
"I have a brother-in-law who had a family member in that situation, and he passed away unfortunately," another participant told us.
Holding a picture of her sister, Krista Thrasher said witnessing the effects of AIDS on her sister nearly destroyed her family.
"She actually got date raped and caught AIDS from it and died 12 years later, so it's a sensitive subject," Thrasher said.
For participants, it's about more than raising money; it's also raising awareness, and they are hoping their steps will pay off one day.
"We are out here because it's not over," said organizer Juanita Rasmus with St. John's United Methodist Church Downtown. "It's not over until we no longer have to manage or be a part of this illness called HIV or AIDS."
According to AIDS Foundation Houston, this year's walk has raised nearly $500,000.
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