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Welcome to Donna Gins's Page

Donna Gins

Donna Gins

Dear Friends and Family,

I began this mission of fundraising for GMHC almost 20 years ago as a tribute to my brother Howie. What an incredible honor it continues to be working alongside the staff and members of GMHC every year for the annual AIDS Walk! Never did I imagine my life would take on such heartfelt meaning, nor did I predict I would lose my brother to an ugly virus that paralyzed the thoughts in his mind and gradually shutdown his body as he slowly slipped away from us. Life and death happen in the strangest ways I suppose.

I especially thank Thom Medrano who patiently guided me through the process of “getting my act together” not only for the last several years, but especially this year. As it has been for most of us, Covid has left me feeling empty and lonely. Most likely we all know someone we lost. We are tired of Covid and its’ restrictions. I am overwhelmed by the exhaustion and sense of loss. And yet the despair inspired me to commit to The AIDS Walk with even greater determination. So with more passion than previously anticipated, I got on the keyboard and knew I had to appeal to my support system of donors. For as depressing as the pandemic is we have united and we discovered a vaccine. These 4 words provide the stamina to continue, be it for Covid or a cure for AIDS…”we discovered a vaccine.” Howie’s death was one associated with stigma and quite frankly still raises eyebrows of disapproval. It’s been a long road, but research indicates we are closer to a vaccine for AIDS than ever before, and the bumps along that windy road have lessened. We’re so close. People are living with HIV. Again this year, I honor the memory of my dear brother Howie, and I ask for your help. My quest for a cure continues until AIDS is eradicated. In memory of Howie and all whom we have lost to AIDS, please make a donation and help save precious lives. But first please take a moment to read the poem below written by Jason Maxwell Strome.

A Poem for My Father by Jason Maxwell Strome written at the age of 18 (1995)

A Laugh
Whose is it?
I look at my reflection to see.
My reflection winks
As I look closer into the depth of my soul.
I see
Staring back at me.
I open my mouth to speak and
I hear
Father’s voice.
I think to myself.
The voice in my head
Is coming from another place.
It comes to me
And warms me like a hug.
It whispers wisdom.
Like the ancient mariner telling his story.
His wisdom is punctuated with a word
When I’m lost I hear your words
Guiding me
Like the North Star
When I’m confused
I see your face
And it
Look closely into my eyes
And you will see
Your reflection
When I look into your
Eyes I see
Between me and you
There is us
Different but
When you feel
I feel with You.
You should never feel alone
Because we are two
Parts of the same being.
Always remember
We live in this together
Not as you
Not as me
But as us.

Jason wrote this poem for his dad (my brother Howie) a few weeks before his death. Tragically, Jason fell to his premature death just 3 years following Howie. Now as they lie side by side in their eternal resting place I wonder about Life and Death. Coincidence. Conjecture. Science. Life and death happen in the strangest ways I suppose.

WE NEED A CURE NOW! Thank you for reading. Please make a donation to this year’s AIDS Walk. Simply click on the Donate button.

As always I conclude with an abundance of love and gratitude,


"Some moments we never forget because our lives have been forever changed by them." - A. Donalson

My two older brothers, Howie & Cliff, and me.


Howie and his son, Jason.


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