The 25th Annual AIDS Walk begins and ends in West Hollywood this Sunday, benefiting AIDS Project Los Angeles and other AIDS service organizations across Los Angeles County.More than 27,000 people are expected to participate in this year’s AIDS Walk.CNN Hero Marie Da Silva, founder of the Jacaranda Foundation, says she is thrilled to be part of the 25th Annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles, alongside West Hollywood Mayor Pro John Heilman, Actor Mario Lopez, and tens of thousands of participants.

“It is a great honor for me to be invited by Mayor Pro John Heilman and to help support the fundraising campaign of AIDS Project Los Angeles,” said Marie Da Silva.“In my country of Malawi, 10 people die of AIDS every hour and there are over two million orphans. I have lost 14 members of my family to AIDS and my mission is to do everything I can to help spread the messages of prevention and education.” In November 2008, Marie Da Silva was recognized as a Top Ten CNN Hero by the news channel, for her amazing dedication to AIDS orphans in her native country of Malawi, Africa.Ms. Da Silva, who has been working as a nanny for the past 15 years in the US, funded with her own wages the Jacaranda school, a school for 320 orphans in Malawi.

Today, she inspires people around the world with her personal story of courage, generosity and perseverance. In September 2009, Marie Da Silva spent 10 days in Shanghai, China, where she spoke in four different international schools and taught the children about the importance of sharing and giving back to their communities.About AIDS Walk Los Angeles: Since 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has raised more than $63 million for HIV programs and services throughout Los Angeles County.In that time, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has grown into one of the largest AIDS fundraising events in the country.In 2008 alone, 30,000 participants, many of whom were members of 1,400 corporate and community teams, raised $3 million for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) and more than one dozen local AIDS services organizations.

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