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Until There’s a Cure

By Lavender July 3, 2008

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It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and its goal is to raise money for prevention, education, and the development of a vaccine for HIV/AIDS for as long as its name implies: until there’s a cure.

To help spread awareness about the organization and its mission, Until There’s a Cure (UTAC) has recruited celebrities—from Jessica Alba to Mandy Moore to Laila Ali to Jenny McCarthy—to promote the sale of bracelets that raise money for its cause.

The latest star to join the UTAC campaign is Minnesota Lynx first round draft pick Candice Wiggins, who says she became part of the fight for several reasons, not the least of which was her personal involvement with HIV/AIDS.

“When I grew up, my father had AIDS, and he was the first Major League Baseball (MLB) player to get the virus. At the time, it was something that was very taboo, and it had a negative stigma attached to it,” Wiggins explains. “To me growing up, it was really important that if I did have an avenue to share my story, it was important for me to reach out to people, and be a part of something that was close to my life.”

Wiggins’s father, the late Alan Wiggins, played in the MLB for seven years as a second baseman and left fielder for the San Diego Padres from 1981-85 and for the Baltimore Orioles from 1985-87.

Wiggins recalls that she and her brother remained largely unaware of her father’s circumstances growing up, because her mother shielded them from much of the negativity surrounding HIV/AIDS.

As Wiggins points out, the support she received from her mother as a child was instrumental, and continues to have an impact today: “When I was growing up, she was, like, ‘If you really get good at basketball, and if it’s something you want to do, you can really reach a lot of people’s lives through that,’ and I was, like, ‘What are you talking about?’ But now, I see that you can have a lot of influence.”

The Minnesota Lynx organization has thrown its support behind Wiggins and the campaign. The June 10 game against the Connecticut Sun was dedicated to UTAC. The first 5,000 fans received the organization’s The Bracelet in Lynx team colors, as well as a copy of Wiggins’s print public service announcement.

“It’s not something that is super complicated. It’s something that everyone can read and can understand,” Wiggins relates. “This is something that can reach everyone, and is something that kind of gathers and mixes several communities.”

Wiggins notes that UTAC is something she truly can commit herself to, while at the same time reaching out to millions of people, and spreading a message of hope.

“I just really want to get myself involved with things like this, whether it’s talking about it, like now, or just doing things to make people aware of this cause,” Wiggins remarks. “You know, it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. There can be something positive that comes from anything. And I think that’s what the message is.”

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