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Alex Lamazares delivers on a promise to provide assistance to children with HIV/AIDS in our community, by tendering a check from OrchidMania South Florida to Dr. Ana Garcia of Project Cradle,the Pediatric Infectious Desease and Immunology program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. ________________________________________

A child comes into the world totally helpless. Nothing could be sadder than for these children to be born with AIDS and fighting for their lives. Every year in the last weekend of May, an all volunteer charitable organization OrchidMania sells orchids and other plants at Dante Fascell Park, South Miami to benefit the children born with AIDS. This is part of Project Cradle, a program at the UM School of Medicine, Dept of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology.

The event will help raise funds for the pediatric AIDS program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, which helps children in the community with HIV/AIDS. In previous years, the sale has raised between $10,000 and $16,000, which has been donated to the AIDS program. The program provides services that the government doesn’t provide for, such as transportation to be treated at the clinic. The program also provides vouchers for children to eat while they are at the clinic.

The effort was organized by Alex Lamazares and run exclusively by volunteers. On every Sunday for a full year before the sale, volunteers take care of donated orchids. This entails trimming dead roots and stems, repotting and fertilizing them in the greenhouse, so they will look their best for the sale. The group has been conducting the orchid sales since 1998.

The volunteers take special care of other plants donated to the society. These include begonias, hoyas, bromeliads, plumerias and palms.

Others help out with the setting up and sales of orchids. Perhaps most enjoyable is matching up the right person with the right plant or plants.

"The support that these children need is entirely dependent on the success of the event. The more people we get to come out, the more money we’ll be able to raise and the more children we’ll be able to provide services for,” Alex Lamazares said in an interview with the Miami Herald.