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News: Special events

Get your HIV status at these AIDS Run & Walk Chicago beneficiaries

June 26, 2017

Each June 27, National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) encourages people of all ages to get tested for HIV. Chicago has a vibrant network of testing sites at which you can #KnowYourStatus; plus, many of them are also beneficaries of AIDS Run & Walk Chicago's CommunityDirect program!  Here are two things you can do on National HIV Testing Day to build health equity in Chicago:...
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Quest Diagnostics employees experience a day-to-day connection to the HIV epidemic

June 6, 2017

by Ashley Brown Each year, corporate teams and sponsors band together for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to raise awareness and funds for HIV services across Chicagoland and Illinois. One of these generous partners is Quest Diagnostics , which provides clinical laboratory services across the country. We spoke to Regional Marketing Director Joe Huber on how their involvement with...
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One year later: youth housing advocate Kasey White on Trump, self-care and the Sleep In

February 16, 2017

Almost a year ago, AFC readers met Kasey White, an energetic advocate for youth experiencing homelessness in Chicago. Ahead of this year’s   youth   housing project fundraiser   Out in the Open Sleep-In , which White has supported since its first iteration in 2015, we wanted to check in with White to see what she’s been up to, and where she sees herself...
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Next to - or better than - normal

December 12, 2016

Jeff Tomlinson is what you might call a “normal guy.” He was born and raised in rural Illinois; he has worked as a teacher in the U.S. and in other countries; he goes out and dates and volunteers. But he worries about things that some don’t have to worry about: as someone living with HIV who depends on vital, threatened programs like ADAP, he knows that his health care...
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So sweet: Chicagoans commemorated World AIDS Day at World of Chocolate gala

December 2, 2016

Around 1,100 guests came together at Revel Fulton Market to celebrate the  AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s  (AFC) 15th annual  World of Chocolate  gala on Thursday, Dec. 1. The evening raised $105,000 (net) to support the vital services AFC provides to thousands of Chicagoans each year, in addition to its work to make health equity and justice a reality in Illinois and...
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These runners and walkers 'grammed for the cause - and won!

October 14, 2016

by Cotrell Loftin AIDS Run & Walk Chicago was back on Saturday, Oct. 1, but we’re still feeling the excitement! In the week leading up to the event, we held an Instagram challenge that received many great entries. Congratulations to the daily winners and the grand prize winner @Ricanflava who won a ticket to World of Chocolate! See the winning posts below and stay tuned...
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More than $471K raised to help HIV+ Chicagoans thrive at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago

October 3, 2016

Heavy rain and high winds didn’t stop thousands of Chicagoans from taking a stand against health inequity and supporting the HIV community at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 1, at Soldier Field. “Together, we’re building momentum to not just provide services, but to provide equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV and related...
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Seven reasons to volunteer at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago

September 20, 2016

Events like AIDS Run & Walk Chicago don't come together by themselves; they happen because talented volunteers come together and make it happen! Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer for this year's event on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Soldier Field? Click here to learn more. Still on the fence? Read seven reasons other volunteers come back year after year to support the HIV...
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From the darkness of loss, new love emerges

September 12, 2016

Chicagoan Lindsay Mitchell recounts her connection to the HIV cause and to AIDS Run & Walk Chicago, which she has participated in for more than a decade. Mitchell also celebrates that which she has gained as a result of her volunteer work at Bonaventure House: a life-long love. I run in the AIDS Run & Walk Chicago every year in memory of my father-in-law, who died of AIDS-related...
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#TeamJessica walks toward hope and away from stigma

August 10, 2016

by Eryn MacNeil “I was only 22 when I was diagnosed. I was young and I felt it. But everyone’s just trying to learn how to live, and now I’m just learning how to live a little differently.” Jessica was diagnosed with HIV at the age of 22 when she visited the doctor to have her lymph nodes examined. What seemed like a mundane check-up quickly turned...
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By Ashley Brown 

 

Lillian Weir is a natural activist, whose strong beliefs and voice rise up to fight for what is right. For years she has marched in the Chicago Pride 

Parade, right in the thick of the crowd, waiving a flag and dancing in support of the rights of marginalized communities nationwide. She’s also loaned her innate activism to the C

hicago Teacher’s Union, the Women’s March in Chicago, marriage equality and for acceptance of all gender identities and sexualities. And she’s accomplished all of this by the young age of 13.  

So, when an opportunity to fundraise for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago presented itself, Lillian jumped at the chance. Lillian and her mother Cynthia both walk and fundraise for the Season of Concern team, a Chicago-based non-profit that provides care and support for those in the entertainment industry experiencing health-related emergencies and medical issues, including HIV and AIDS.

For Lillian’s first walk in 2016, even the rain couldn’t dampen her enthusiasm. Both Lillian and her mother were impressed by the energy, excitement and camaraderie of the teams and the sense of unity and acceptance that permeated the air. Lillian was particularly impacted by the diversity of identities represented.

“I believe people should be represented, so that was a really good experience for me,” she recalls. 

In particular, Cynthia remembers her daughter’s infectious enthusiasm.  

“She didn’t walk the 5k walk, she ran it,” recounts Cynthia with a laugh. “She would run ahead and we wouldn’t see her and then she’d run all the way back because she was so excited and having such a great time. Lillian jumped up at the end of the event and said ‘Let’s do this again every year; this is our tradition!’” 

Lillian agrees, and particularly remembers the excitement of creating a tangible impact for those living with and vulnerable to HIV to allow them to live with dignity and purpose. 

“The general experience of being there was enlightening,” Lillian remembers. “I thought it was incredible to be a part of that.” 

Lillian is excited to continue her involvement into 2017 and beyond, and hopes to continue to raise more funds and get more people involved in the fight to end new HIV infections and health inequity. While Cynthia helps her run her fundraising page, Lillian sets the goals and creates unique incentives to get people excited to give, including a home-cooked meal for people who give more than $100, as well as an original artwork by Lillian for the top contributor. She also spreads the word to family and friends and excitedly monitors her fundraising progress before the big day. To date, Lillian has already surpassed her fundraising goal. 

But despite her passion and dedication, Lillian is modest about her involvement and believes that everyone should stand up for what they believe in, regardless of age. 

“I don’t think age matters,” she says. “If you believe in something, you should protect it and defend it. Stand up for what you believe in.”