Published Thursday, 23-Sep-2010 in issue 1187
On Sunday, Sept. 26, our community will come together in a hopeful, beautiful and powerful display of commitment and compassion – AIDS Walk & Run San Diego.
Each year for the last 21 years, our community has worked together to ensure the success of the event and make certain that urgently needed funds are raised for our local HIV/AIDS service organizations.
AIDS Walk continues to be a vitally important source of support for San Diegans impacted by HIV/AIDS. And it happens each year because so many people are willing to help and to give in whatever ways they are able.
On the morning of AIDS Walk, you’ll see the best of San Diego. A diverse lineup of people all committed to supporting people living with HIV/AIDS and who share a common dream of a day when this event is no longer necessary. You’ll see teams formed among friends, at workplaces, at churches and schools. You’ll see parents, straight and gay, pushing strollers. You’ll see people of varying ages, races, sizes and abilities. You’ll see families walking together, wearing T-shirts or carrying signs to honor a loved one they lost too soon. You can’t help but be moved by this display of humanity.
We’re incredibly grateful to our local businesses and institutions that field teams year after year and those who sponsor this event. We are so thankful for those teams – experienced and newer – who continue to find creative ways to raise funds, and whose energy brings new people into this event each year. We absolutely couldn’t do it without an extraordinarily dedicated group of 800 volunteers – many who keep coming back year after year – who work throughout the year as well as on the day of the event to make a difference. Whether you’ve walked, sponsored a walker or given at a fundraiser, we deeply appreciate your contributions and commitment.
It takes all of us – our entire community – to create this exceptional opportunity to continue to educate and raise awareness about the realities of HIV/AIDS, and to help halt the spread of the disease. On Sunday, we stand (and walk) together, united in a common goal. It’s truly a beautiful, inspirational event.
All of these remarkable people have helped make AIDS Walk the largest one-day HIV/AIDS fundraiser in San Diego County. It is the largest non-governmental financial provider for HIV/AIDS service organizations in San Diego County. Agencies that serve thousands and thousands of clients rely on the funds raised at AIDS Walk to provide essential programs and care to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.
While too many people are affected by this disease, the good news is that people are able to live much longer and healthier lives with HIV than ever before. The challenge that creates is that more people need services, medication and other support than ever before, and at the same time, funding cuts have decimated prevention and education services, along with HIV testing, counseling and viral load testing. Our local service providers – dedicated and creative as they are – simply can’t make up the shortfall and are forced to continue to cut services and programs that they know make a difference for their clients.
That’s just one more reason the model of our AIDS Walk is so important and has been so effective. While AIDS Walk events have become non-existent in other cities, here in San Diego our community continues to help and enjoys a strategic, unique funding partnership with the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative. This partnership enables AIDS Walk to increase the impact of the funds raised at the Walk. Those dollars are combined with other donations from philanthropists and foundations to qualify for matching funds. Since 1989, AIDS Walk San Diego has raised nearly $8 million. In partnership with the HIV Funding Collaborative, more than $500,000 was distributed last year to 20 community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations in the San Diego area.
On Sept. 26, our AIDS Walk gives us all a moment to remember and reminds us of all the reasons we must make sure that services and programs will be available for those with HIV/AIDS who need them. It gives us a chance to show the world that we have not forgotten those lost, and that we still care deeply for those who are living with this disease.
Please join us on Sun., Sept. 26 and take some powerful steps to help those impacted by HIV/AIDS.
If you haven’t yet registered, supported a walker or signed up to volunteer, please do so today by going to www.AIDSWalkSD.org. You can also call (619) 291-WALK (9255) for more information.