Wiggins Reflects On WNBA Cares Community Award

Mark Remme
Lynx Editor/Writer

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Lynx guard Candice Wiggins received the WNBA Cares Community Award for July on Aug. 28 against San Antonio thanks to her continued leadership role off the court in the team’s community outreach programs and her support of the group “Greater Than AIDS.”

Wiggins’ personal connection to HIV/AIDS makes her a strong advocate for awareness and prevention. Wiggins participated in the team’s official HIV/AIDS Awareness night, where she spoke to fans and supporters emphasizing the importance of being tested. Wiggins shared her personal story with the group and how it has impacted her life.

“There is information out there,” Wiggins said. “The world we’re living in is an information age. You can understand, even if there are people living with HIV that it’s not just a death sentence. I think Magic Johnson has really represented that kind of survivor aspect of it.”

In addition to the team event, she works closely with the “Greater Than AIDS” movement year-round, and is routinely involved in national programs affiliated with this cause.

Outside of her work with “Greater Than AIDS,” Wiggins continues to make an impact away from the basketball court. She participated in a Memorial Blood Center blood drive, where she spent the afternoon visiting with donors and encouraging others to donate their blood. Wiggins strives to inspire others to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle while balancing the demands of being a professional athlete.

Wiggins’ outreach efforts also included hosting her own camp in Fort Wayne, Ind., where she taught kids the fundamentals of basketball. Understanding the importance of being a positive role model for young children, she spoke to the kids about the importance of education and discipline.

The WNBA Community Assist Award is presented monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the league’s passion for making a difference in the community. In recognition of Wiggins’ charitable efforts, the WNBA is donating $5,000 to Greater Than AIDS on her behalf.

Throughout her career Wiggins has stated she feels she has a great opportunity as a professional athlete to be an advocate for raising awareness in these areas, particularly in HIV and AIDS education.

She said there are people in this world who are affected by the disease through association, and it’s important to recognize that.

“We have children who are affected by it, there are babies that are born with HIV that are innocent, that didn’t make any choices in their lives,” Wiggins said. “I think when people understand that, they’re just a step closer to being not so afraid and intimidated by what AIDS is.”

Wiggins said being educated about your health is the first step.

“[It’s important] being knowledgeable about AIDS/HIV,” Wiggins said. “Understanding the statistics, getting tested, and just really being more sympathetic to the people who are living with HIV/AIDS.”

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