Medical students left high and dry at charity boat race
LASS (Leicester AIDs Support Services) organised the event, held on 9 June, to both celebrate its 25 years of existence and to promote its message of viewing HIV without prejudice, fear or stigma.
Rather than being a traditional boat race, members carried makeshift boats and ran with them on dry land. The boats were adorned with international decorations to reflect the world-wide need for better HIV awareness. 25 crew members 'rowed' the boats, with each member representing one year of the organisation's history.
Among the landlubbers attempting the race were students from our School of Medicine's Sexpression Society, which works with young people in schools and on campus to raise awareness on sexual health issues.
LASS was founded in 1987 to provide a range of services to those affected by HIV and AIDs in Leicestershire and Rutland. The independent voluntary organisation works to prevent HIV from spreading and promotes awareness of positive sexual health through education, training and initiatives within the Leicestershire and Rutland community. Now it supports over 500 people affected by these illnesses in the area, a huge change from its beginnings as an unwelcome initiative, due to naïve fear and stigma.
The organisation was recently joined by a new International Patron, Leicester honorary graduate the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who said that he "admired LASS's guts".
Gutsy they certainly are - though their boat race was a bit of a misnomer, the Leicester Mercury reports that it went swimmingly.