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August 21, 2008

Survivor Winner Kicks Off HIV Awareness Journey

Former professional soccer player and Survivor: Africa winner Ethan Zohn began a journey from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, to Washington, DC, on August 20 to raise funds and awareness for Grassroot Soccer, a nonprofit HIV awareness initiative for children in Africa, The Boston Globe reports. Zohn will dribble a soccer ball for the entire 550-mile trek to raise awareness of his Grassroot Soccer program in the United States.

“We are really trying to create this generation of HIV-negative kids,” Zohn says. “We give them all the information so they can possibly lead a healthy lifestyle. It’s getting kids to talk about these problems and reducing the stigma of HIV and AIDS. We want everyone in America to know about Grassroot Soccer.”

Zohn first developed a connection to HIV/AIDS when he earned a spot on the Zimbabwe Highlanders Football Club in 2000. One of his close teammates later died of an AIDS-related illness.

“That was my first real experience knowing and then having someone die of AIDS,” Zohn told the Globe. “No one ever talks about AIDS over there.”

According to the article, Zohn’s dribble-a-thon will take him along back roads for 10 to 15 miles a day, and he will be stopping along the way at high schools and colleges to discuss HIV/AIDS. His journey will conclude in the nation’s capital on December 1— World AIDS Day.

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