Lindsay Frey has a word of warning for her friends: “Be prepared. You’re going to be ambushed.”
Every day, Frey updates her Facebook page with a reminder to friends that she’s raising money for AIDS Walk Boston. She sends out emails and texts, and she’s throwing a party with a $10 cover.
“Before I do all this, I let people know,” says Frey, who lives in the North End. “I say, ‘I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m begging for money. I’m sorry if this is annoying. But this is how it is.’”
Five years ago, Frey lost her aunt and uncle to the disease, which 18,000 people die from annually in the United States. At the time, her cousin was just 12 years-old.
“I come from a very old world Italian family, so you know, it rocked my family. It was just really, really sad,” Frey says.
When Frey sends out her appeals to friends and talks about her involvement with AIDS Walk Boston, she talks about her family’s loss. “I think that the impact it’s had on me will impact my friends and the people who care about me,” she says. “Other people who’ve been impacted can also relate. Personal experience is what it’s all about.”
Frey has set an ambitious fundraising goal for herself: $3,000. But she’s confident she’ll reach it. “I’m up to $915 right now and I’m waiting on some large donations that I know are coming in.”
One other fundraising tactic that Frey says can draw in up to $1,000 itself is to let friends and family know that if they donate to AIDS Walk Boston, they don’t have to get her birthday or Christmas presents.
“I tell them, please give me a card,” she says. “I don’t want to walk away completely empty-handed. But I’d rather help someone out than get a bottle of perfume.”
Frey will walk with friends of hers who together make up Team Freddie Mercury, named for, in Frey’s words, “The greatest rock star ever!” Last year, the team raised $4,000 for AIDS Action Committee, which provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with a diagnosis of HIV.
“You can’t be afraid to ask people for a donation because it goes to something that is so much bigger than us,” Frey says. “On my worst day, I know I don’t have HIV or AIDS, you know what I mean? Some of my friends have HIV and they’re the strongest people I know.”
AIDS Walk Boston takes place Sunday, June 5. You can donate to Frey at this link: http://www.aac.org/site/TR/Events/AWB08?team_id=24880&pg=team&fr_id=1110