AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is hosting their 19th annual AIDS Run and Walk on Saturday, October 5. This year’s event, taking place at Soldier Field, invites Chicago residents to participate in a 5K or 10K run or 5K walk. All funds raised will benefit and advocate for individuals living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
Are you interested in bringing awareness to this cause? I’m happy to connect you with an AFC spokesperson or one of the below advocates who can share their personal story on why they run:
- Armando Ramirez-Guzman: diagnosed with HIV in 2003, Armando became an active volunteer with AFC to raise HIV awareness and fight stigma within the Latino community.
- Chris Pazdernik: a passionate and outspoken member of Chicago’s HIV community, the award-winning musical director found strength in his love for musical theater and various HIV support groups after being diagnosed with HIV in 2009.
- Lauryn Scott: after losing her father to AIDS when she was four-years-old, Lauryn has been an active advocate in sharing his story and encouraging others to erase the stigma around the HIV/AIDS community.
- Vinny Cousineau: to share his late partner’s story, who lost the battle against AIDS-related Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Vinny participates each year in the AIDS Run and Walk, wearing a shirt with his partner’s name written across, as well as other friends and family members who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS.
Sam Guckenberger | On behalf of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago | 312.558.1770
“Live True. Be You” at the 2019 AIDS Run & Walk Chicago
CHICAGO – On Saturday, Oct. 5, advocates from across Chicago and beyond will gather to support those living with and vulnerable to HIV at the 2019 AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. Held at Soldier Field, the 18th annual event encourages participants to live true as they raise vital awareness and funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and 27 CommunityDirect partners. The proceeds benefit programs and services improving the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS and other chronic conditions.
The event attracts thousands of participants annually, who gather at one of Chicago’s most iconic locations for the 5K walk and 5K and 10K runs. Participants travel a scenic route along Lake Michigan and finish at Soldier Field. This vibrant event will mobilize the community under the theme “Live true. Be you.”
“The theme this year continues to be “Live True. Be You”, as living each day authentically is a crucial part of embracing who we are as a community and showing how we can make a difference for people living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS,” said Dustin Erikstrup, AFC’s Senior Manager of Special Events. “It is important to live true and openly each day in this unpredictable climate. AIDS Run & Walk Chicago provides this safe space where people can express themselves.”
In addition to AFC, 27 community organizations serving Chicago’s HIV and AIDS population are also beneficiaries of the funds raised at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago as part of the CommunityDirect program. Participating CommunityDirect organizations kick off the event’s fundraising efforts by registering their own team for the 5K walk, 5K or 10K runs. Many of this year’s community partners have been involved in the event for years, providing opportunities for other organizations to participate and support its fundraising efforts.
AFC recently joined forces with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other statewide partners to launch Getting to Zero Illinois. This is a state-wide initiative to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030 with the help of community-based organizations, health care providers, local government agencies and local members of Illinois’ HIV community. The initiative focuses on increasing the current rates of PrEP (a daily prevention pill that is up to 99 percent effective when taken consistently and correctly) and other HIV treatments to attain fewer than 100 new HIV cases per year.
In Illinois, an estimated 45,000 people live with HIV or AIDS. AFC, along with community organizations and other partners, are working tirelessly to get this number down to zero through their advocacy and fundraising efforts. The AIDS Run & Walk Chicago provides the ideal opportunity to raise money and awareness for and the groups and individuals who are working to combat the epidemic in Illinois.
Since its establishment in 2001, the AIDS Run & Walk Chicago has raised more than $6 million to battle the epidemic. For more information or to participate, visit aidsrunwalk.org or call 312-334-0946.
2019 CommunityDirect Partners
Michael Reese Care Program at Mercy
Chicago Recovery Alliance
The Night Ministry
Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago
Center on Halsted
Chicago House and Social Service Agency
AMITA Health Housing & Health Alliance
Legal Beagles (Legal Council for Health Justice)
Season of Concern
Sinai/Holy Cross Strolling Bones
SWOP – Chicago (Sex Workers Outreach Project)
CCHE (Chicago Center for HIV Elimination
Pride Action Tank
Men and Women in Prison Ministries
Mother and Child Alliance
Team CCHIP (Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center)
DANCE FOR LIFE CHICAGO
Erie Family Health Centers
Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus
New Ages Services Corporation
Team HAI (Heartland Alliance International)
About the AIDS Foundation of Chicago: AFC mobilizes communities to create equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV or chronic conditions. AFC aspires to create a world in which people living with HIV or chronic conditions will thrive, and there will be no new HIV cases. More at: aidschicago.org.