Milwaukee Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun serves as the honorary chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin, which takes place Oct. 6 at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee. We asked the slugger via email about his involvement with the fundraiser, which benefits the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.
WIG: Why did you decide to become involved with AIDS Walk?
Ryan Braun: There are a few reasons I got involved with the AIDS Walk Wisconsin. First, I wanted to help Wisconsin continue to be a leader in the fight against AIDS. When I saw the work Clay (Matthews) did last year as chair of the AIDS Walk Wisconsin, I knew I could help.
So last month I was proud that the Brewers Community Foundation presented AIDS Walk Wisconsin with a gift of $25,000 just before the game. We had a bunch of the AIDS Walk Wisconsin teams at the park that night as well.
AIDS Walk Wisconsin is a great cause to get behind. I didn’t realize that patients with HIV live longer in Wisconsin than HIV patients in any other state in the country. But there has been a spike in new infections over the past year. That being said, there has to be more work and more attention drawn to the fight against HIV in our state and I wanted to help. We can’t take our eye off of this disease.
My mom has also been active in California for the past few years with this cause and has walked in the AIDS Walk in Los Angeles and the AIDS Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles..
Finally, Brewers fans have been supportive of me. I want to use my work with AIDS Walk Wisconsin to give back to the state that has been so good to me.
Have you known anyone who’s been affected by the epidemic?
No, I have not.
As a role model and local hero, what impact do you hope your participation in the event will have?
Ultimately I want to inspire more fundraising. I want my participation to encourage more participation and more fund raising for ARCW.
What would you like to say to the people of Milwaukee about why they should participate in AIDS Walk and support the critical services provided by the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin?
The message is simple: It takes all of us to make a big difference. So register. Join my team. Raise pledges. There are still so many people living with HIV and more infections daily. AIDS Walk Wisconsin will help get patients what they need such as health care, food and housing.
With everyone’s help we can make sure that ARCW patients continue to be an example to the country.