San Diego community prepares to step off for 21st Annual AIDS Walk
Published Thursday, 23-Sep-2010 in issue 1187
As local service organizations continue to feel the impact of government funding cuts for HIV/AIDS services, the San Diego community will again come together in a display of support and compassion at the 21st annual AIDS Walk & Run. The event will take place on Sunday, Sept. 26 at Balboa Park.
Registration for both walkers and runners will begin at 6am at Balboa Park, along Sixth Avenue (early registration is also available, see the official event guide here for more information) on Sunday. The 10K run will start at 8am, with the Walk step off at 8:10am.
Local elected officials will also take part in the day’s ceremonies, including U.S. Representative Susan Davis, California State Assemblymember Lori Saldaña, and San Diego City Councilmembers Carl DeMaio and Todd Gloria.
Each year, AIDS Walk & Run brings together people from all over the San Diego area unified in common goals – to raise funds for those impacted by HIV/AIDS, to remember those lost to the disease, to educate and raise awareness and to send a message of caring and hope to those living with HIV/AIDS.
“As we continue to deal with the very real impact of the state budget cuts for HIV services and programs, we see more and more people living with HIV/AIDS who are struggling harder than ever before,” said Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, chief executive officer of The San Diego LGBT Community Center. AIDS Walk & Run San Diego is a program of The Center.
“While the dollars raised through AIDS Walk are crucial to more than 20 local HIV/AIDS service organizations, it is also so important that we turn out as a community to continue to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and show all those impacted by this disease that we haven’t forgotten and that we care,” Jacobs said.
These messages remain vitally important. Every 9? minutes, someone in the United States is infected with HIV, and in San Diego County, one person is diagnosed with AIDS every day.
“I am always so inspired by this event – on the morning of AIDS Walk, the efforts of so many incredible people come together to truly make a difference,” she said. “Whether you’ve been a team leader and come up with creative ways to fundraise, or you’re a volunteer that shows up at 3am to help set up for the Walk, or you’ve given your last $10 to sponsor a friend, everyone’s contribution make this event happen and provides real support to people living with HIV/AIDS.”
It is the work of so many who help support the more than 16,000 people who are living with HIV/AIDS in San Diego County. Each year, teams account for nearly 70% of the funds raised at AIDS Walk, and this year the teams have gotten even more creative in their efforts. This year’s top fundraising team (at press time) is Martinis Above Fourth, which exceeded their ambitious team goal of raising $25,000 through a combination of team building and special events, including their End of Summer Splash party. Other teams rounding out the top five are The Center, Qualcomm, UCSD Communities and Guys Like Us.
AIDS Walk & Run Funding Recipients – Making the Most of Each Dollar
Established in 1989 as a vehicle to raise awareness about the impact of the disease, as well as vital funds for HIV/AIDS service organizations, AIDS Walk remains San Diego County’s largest one-day HIV/AIDS fundraiser.
Since that first event, AIDS Walk San Diego has raised nearly $8 million for local HIV/AIDS service providers. In partnership with the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, approximately $500,000 was distributed last year to 20 community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations in the San Diego area.
Last year’s grant recipients were: Being Alive San Diego, Bienestar, Christie’s Place, Comite Civico del Valle, Deaf Community Services of San Diego, Eunime Por-Tijuana, A.C., Family Health Centers of San Diego, Fraternity House, Jewish Family Services of San Diego, Mama’s Kitchen, North County Health Services, Operation Samahan, San Diego Foundation for Change - Strength for the Journey program, San Diego LGBT Community Center, San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, San Diego Youth Services, San Ysidro Health Center, Special Delivery San Diego, UCSD Owen Clinic and the Vista Community Clinic.
Through a unique partnership with the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative, AIDS Walk & Run San Diego is able to increase the impact of the dollars it raises. Funds raised from AIDS Walk & Run are combined with other supporting donations to qualify for matching funds.
For last year’s funding cycle, those partner organizations included: the Sunshine Brooks Permanent Fund of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Johnson & Johnson, McCarthy Family Foundation, National AIDS Fund, the Parker Foundation and Bill Hardt Presents.
“We are truly grateful for all those who help make this funding possible – our dedicated AIDS Walk walkers, supporters and sponsors and the San Diego HIV Funding Collaborative,” Jacobs said. “These dollars make it possible to ensure that the important fundraising work done for AIDS Walk goes even further in supporting our local agencies that serve those living with HIV/AIDS.”