Group raises funds for AIDS initiative

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Dr. Stephanie Marton, who spent more than two years in Swaziland fighting pediatric AIDS, will speak about her experience on campus tonight as a part of UT’s series of events for Global Health Awareness Week.

Alpha Phi Sigma, a pre-med honors society, is hosting the week to raise money and awareness of global health issues.

The week is an annual event the organization puts on to benefit the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative.

On Monday, the group had their kick-off event on Speedway, where they grilled and sold hot dogs, hamburgers and baked goods.

This year the group is hosting a Mr. Pre-Med competition on Wednesday, a global health fair at Speedway Plaza on Thursday and a dinner at Plucker’s on Monday.

Through these events, society members hope to raise more than $3,000, said the group’s officer candidate coordinator
Lillian Mohamed.
“Last year we had two doctors that worked with BIPAI who had just come back from Africa come speak to us,” Mohamed said. “What they do is set up clinics in different parts of the country. They run them for a year or two, and then after that they transfer all the administrative duties to the locals.”

These clinics help women with AIDS avoid passing the disease on to the children they are carrying, Mohamed said.

“They’ve made a lot of strides in Africa, and it’s really nice to see that the money we are donating goes to a good cause,” she said.

Sadaf Zendehdel, executive adviser for Alpha Phi Sigma, said the group decided to support BIPAI five or six years ago.

“Dr. Mark Kline started the program about 10 years ago and our organization went and saw him speak because he comes to the University every once in a while,” Zendehdel said. “And what he spoke about grabbed the attention of a lot of our officers.”

She said that is when the officers knew they wanted to help that organization.

“It’s helping children, and it’s an issue that’s very near and dear to our hearts,” Zendehel said.
Freshman Erika Martinez was on her way to Chick-fil-A when she decided to purchase food at the kick-off booth.

“I definitely would like to support any organization on campus that would help people who need it, especially kids suffering,” Martinez said. “The food was really cheap, and it’s amazing that students can come together and make a difference for such a great cause.”