Calgary Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life

Alan Merritt would like to have the money raised in time for the annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, being held in Saint John on Sept. 22. (CBC)

A Saint John man who has been living with AIDS for more than two decades hopes to raise $26,000 for AIDS Saint John.

Alan Merritt says he was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS 26 years ago, when treatments were in their infancy and the outlook for patients was gloomy.

Now, he wants to give back to the charity that provides support and prevention services by raising $1,000 for every year he has lived with the virus.

Ideally, he'd like to reach his lofty goal by Sept. 22, in time for the annual Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life, being held in Saint John at Rockwood Park.

"We as a community can raise this money, much needed for a well-deserved organization," he said.

Merritt, a florist by trade, said he plans to offer floral workshops.

"I have a little black book of people who just love workshops," he said.

He also has a weekend yard sale in the works.

Julie Dingwell, the executive director of AIDS Saint John, says the funds "would be a tremendous boost to the organization.

"I have to commend Alan for being so thoughtful," she said.

Merritt says the organization deserves his help after he has received so many years of kindness.