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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 chronic diseases!” announced AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) President/CEO John Peller to an estimated crowd of 2,500 runners, walkers and volunteers. At press time, the event had raised more than $471,000 (gross), which will be distributed among 33 organizations that support people living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS in the Chicago metropolitan area.
5k and 10k runners and 5k walkers were welcomed to the festival grounds on Soldier Field’s south lawn with an opening ceremony that included a performance by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, inspirational remarks by Peller, Honey West and Armando Guzman, and a moving performance of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the musical Carousel by Chicago stage star Donica Lynn. WGN-TV’s entertainment reporter Dean Richards hosted the festivities.
The rain didn’t slow down the 5K and 10K runner competition: 5k first place winners (in men’s, women’s and gender-neutral categories, respectively) were Michael Smith, Kimberly McClain and Timothy Carbonara, and the 10k winners were Jamie Kelly, Sheila Murphy and Milo Vieland. A full list of participant finish times is available at aidsrunwalk.org.
Funds raised through AIDS Run & Walk Chicago will benefit programs and services for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and 32 other metropolitan organizations that provide life-saving services to people living with and vulnerable to HIV and AIDS. Since it was established in 2001, AIDS Run & Walk Chicago has netted nearly $5 million to battle the epidemic.
Fundraising totals for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago will continue to grow, as donations will be accepted throughout autumn. To donate or learn more, visit aidsrunwalk.org or call 312-334-0946.