Despite chilly weather yesterday, 2,255 people from throughout the region Wisconsin gathered at Milwaukee’s lakefront for AIDS Walk Wisconsin 20102. According to AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, which presents and benefits from the annual event, walkers this year raised $361,392 – 23 percent more than in 2011.
During the event’s opening ceremonies, Brewers’ all-star Ryan Braun, the honorary chair of this year’s AIDS Walk, offered a heartfelt message about the importance of keeping the fight against AIDS strong.
“AIDS is impacting too many of our friends, family members and neighbors,” he said. “I am excited and happy to be here today with you and to raise awareness and generate support to strengthen the fight against AIDS.”
Braun noted his mother’s support of AIDS fundraisers in southern California.
Artist Lon Michels, a long-term HIV survivor and the official artist of AIDS Walk 2012, also addressed the audience, detailing his struggles with complications of the disease, including temporary blindness.
“HIV is a brutal disease, but together we are stronger,” ARCW president and chief executive officer Mike Gifford said in a prepared statement. “Even though new HIV infections are up 19 percent and 94 percent of people with HIV live in poverty, with the support you have raised for the fight against AIDS today, ARCW will be able to keep its promise of assuring everyone with HIV has access to the care and treatment they need to stay alive. Thanks to everyone who has registered and donated to AIDS Walk Wisconsin, we will continue welcome everyone with HIV to the ARCW Medical Center, regardless of their ability to pay.”
In addition to ARCW, other agencies providing HIV prevention, care or treatment services benefiting from AIDS Walk Wisconsin proceeds include Common Ground Ministries Elena’s House, One Heartland, Equality Wisconsin, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, Sheboygan County AIDS Task Force, and the City of Milwaukee Health Department.