Runners frock up for children’s HIV charity

A group of Shellharbour residents will don tutus and tiaras tomorrow for the Sydney Frontrunners Little Black Dress Run.

They will join about 400 people who frock up each year for the four-kilometre run, held as part of the Sydney Mardi Gras season.

The run raises funds and awareness for Camp Goodtime, a Sydney Children’s Hospital outreach program that supports the  about 100 HIV-positive children living in Australia.

Shellharbour’s Lo Cuda decided to get a team together for the event after attending one of the four-day summer camps as a support for a friend who has a child with HIV.

‘‘The camps, which rely heavily on donations, allow families to spend quality time with their children and meet other families in an environment that is positive and supportive,’’ Ms Cuda said.

‘‘There’s fun activities for the whole family, plus workshops and talks by medical specialists about the latest advancements in medications and other treatments.

‘‘And it’s just a chance for these children and their families to really relax without having to worry about other people’s misconceptions about the disease.’’

Tackling the ongoing stigma and stereotypes surrounding HIV also motivated Ms Cuda. 

‘‘There’s a need to raise awareness – to educate people about HIV and how it is contracted,’’ she said.

‘‘But there have been so many medical advances ... HIV is not the death sentence it once was. 

‘‘It doesn’t automatically lead to AIDS, thanks to the amazing drugs now available. People with HIV can lead a long and fulfilling life.’’

Ms Cuda and her team  have already raised more than $1200 in sponsorship. 

The run starts at Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour, at 10am on Sunday. 

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