Nancy Lynn Goldberg, an AIDS Action supporter for 30 years, understands the power of one person to make a world of difference.
In 1991, the AIDS epidemic was at its peak, devastating communities near and far. Nancy, who was working at both the Boston Globe and Blockbuster, was acutely aware of the ravages of AIDS. A Blockbuster coworker had recently lost his brother, a hemophiliac who contracted HIV from a blood transfusion, to the disease. At the same time, Nancy was also witnessing the horrible impact that AIDS was having on her gay friends. So when the Globe formed an AIDS Walk team that year, she didn’t hesitate to sign up.
“I knew I could walk for [my coworker]’s brother, and I could walk for all my friends who were affected by this,” Nancy said. “I didn’t like that so many people had the attitude that, ‘AIDS doesn’t have anything to do with me, it’s a gay disease.’ So just because you’ve never had cancer, you won’t support someone who does? I thought that was ridiculous.”
Around the same time, Nancy received a call from an AIDS Action staff member, asking her if she would consider donating to support their services. She agreed to a small monthly donation, and today, she continues to give regularly.
“Because of the kinds of jobs I work – teacher, designer – I’m never going to be a billionaire,” she said. “But I said to myself, just choose one cause to commit to supporting every month. By continuing to do that, over time, I can make my own, tiny difference.”
Today, Nancy proudly displays buttons from her past Walks on her bulletin board, a colorful reminder of three decades of HIV activism.
When it comes to spreading the word about the AIDS Walk, Nancy has a camera-ready assistant: her dog Truman. “He’s heavily involved – his picture is on every Facebook post!” she said. Cute animal pictures or not, Nancy encourages anyone who’s fundraising to harness the power of social media to reach folks from all your social circles in a creative, low-pressure forum.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately prevented the traditional in-person community gathering. That didn’t deter Nancy from both fundraising and walking, however – she was ready to blaze her own trail.
“When I set up my fundraising page, I told the people that always sponsor me, ‘I promise to walk the same distance!’” Nancy said. She decided that her personal Walk route for 2020 would be the nearby Somerville Community Path. Nancy covered the 1.6 mile round trip twice, taking pictures along the way to document her Walk for her friends and family.
Currently, Nancy plans to join us on September 26 at our new Walk location of Carson’s Beach. If COVID-19 changes her plans, however, she says she’ll walk the Community Path again – with a slight alteration. “I might as well end in Davis Square this time so I can get an ice cream after,” she laughed. We think you deserve an extra scoop, Nancy!
Join Nancy and start your AIDS Walk & Run Boston journey today – sign up to walk, run, volunteer, or fundraise for this year’s Walk!