Meet Athena, Our Lunch with LeVar Winner

Return to The Insider: News & Views

April 01 2014

Athena dresses up in vintage Star Trek attire.


We are pleased to announce that we have a winner for our Lunch with LeVar giveaway. Athena, a music teacher in the Fremont Unified School District in Northern California, will be having lunch with LeVar Burton at one of his favorite L.A. hotspots this summer.

The giveaway, which was posted on numerous blogs, Facebook pages, and websites, received over 13 million impressions.

What was the giveaway’s mission? To encourage AIDS Research Alliance’s supporters and LeVar Burton enthusiasts to support HIV cure research every time they shop online. Powered by, the AIDS Research Alliance’s Shop & Support application is free and easy to use. It makes it possible for anyone to support ARA by shopping at any of 2,500 participating online retailers, including Bloomingdales, Best Buy, Target, and Travelocity.

Upon receiving the news of our winner, LeVar quipped, “I’m incredibly excited and can’t wait to meet Ms. Tang. This is the first lunch I will have ever done with a fan…I hope she doesn’t bite.”

Here, Athena tells us about why she participated in this giveaway:

How did you hear about the Lunch with LeVar giveaway?

Through the magic of Facebook. posted a link to the giveaway on their Facebook page.

Why did you participate?

I have always been a Trekkie – literally all of my life.

Star Trek: The Next Generation came out in late September 1987. I was born in early September 1987. I had an older brother who watched Star Trek, and I watched the show with him, wanting to emulate him.

Why is LeVar special for you?

Geordi La Forge was one of my favorite characters on the show. Something about his character is so genuine. LeVar brings that quality to each of his acting roles.

I grew up with Reading Rainbow, as well, which got me hooked on reading. Later, when I needed glasses – in the first grade! – my brother reminded me of Geordi La Forge, and how he wears a visor. It was that image – of Geordi La Forge – which made me proud of wearing glasses, and no longer embarrassed. My new attitude changed how other people thought about me, too.

Were you aware of HIV/AIDS issues before participating in the Lunch Giveaway?

One of my favorite sports is cycling. I have a number of friends who participate in rides to raise funds for HIV awareness and treatment programs. I like to help them with their fundraisers.

Any last words?

LeVar Burton has been a major influence in my life. He is just so genuine. I remember seeing an episode of Reading Rainbow where LeVar and one of his daughters taught the audience how to make an old potato sprout and grow new potatoes. I was struck by how LeVar interacted with his daughter on screen. I thought, “This is a genuine, friendly guy.” There is something about LeVar that lets you know that he cares about people – including his audience and his fans.

Meeting LeVar will be like meeting my favorite super hero. That’s how big this is to me.

LeVar Burton

Stay tuned for photos from Athena’s Lunch with LeVar – coming early this summer.

And in the meantime, don’t forget to download the ARA’s Shop & Support app - and shop away!

Return to The Insider: News & Views

Partners & Sponsors