AIDS Walk Arizona and 5K Fun Run, the largest gathering in Arizona to support people living with HIV and raise community awareness, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19 at Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe.

AIDS Walk Arizona and 5K Fun RunRSVP Photography

Quick Facts:

  1. AIDS Walk registration tent, presented by Gilead, highlighting their product, Bitkarvy, and the vendor village open at 1 p.m.
  2. The walk and run will start at 3 p.m.
  3. Information and registration forms can be found at www.aidswalkaz.org.
  4. Registration fees are $20 for students, $35 for individual walkers, $35 for virtual walkers and $45 for runners. Fees include an AIDS Walk shirt and sponsor swag.
  5. Registration for PAWS for the Cause, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka, The Vodka for Dog People, for walkers bringing their dogs, is $10 and includes a PAWS for the Cause bandana.
  6. KIDS for the Cause (12 and under) can participate for free, but registration is required and they must be accompanied by an adult. Registration includes and AIDS Walk shirt and Kids for the Cause swag from the AIDS Walk vendor village.

Regina Gazelle Wells, who overcame serious struggles with substance abuse to become a committed trans activist and advocate for trans individuals affected by homelessness, substance abuse and HIV, and Elijah Palles, whose drag stage name is Eddie Broadway and is Mr. Trans USA 2020, are the AIDS Walk Arizona & 5K Fun Run co-chairs.

RSVP Photography

AIDS Walk Arizona has already raised nearly $130,000 toward its $200,000 goal. All proceeds benefit Aunt Rita’s Foundation’s 14 community partner agencies providing critical HIV services including testing, treatment, behavioral health, housing and prevention, among others.

Participants interested in creating a team or individuals interested in supporting a fundraiser or a participating team, can find details, instructions and information on the website.

For more information about AIDS Walk Arizona and 5K Fun Run, visit www.aidswalkaz.org. For more information about Aunt Rita’s Foundation, visit www.auntritas.org.

About Aunt Rita’s Foundation

In our mission to end HIV in Arizona, that quietly began 35 years ago with our first fundraising bake sale, Aunt Rita’s Foundation has granted more than $2 million to 14 partner agencies and continues developing innovative gap-filling educational and HIV prevention and testing programs that complement and support existing critical community-based resources. Partner agencies include The Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, CAN Community Health, Chicanos Por La Causa Luces Program, Ebony House, HEAL International, HIV Care Directions, Joshua Tree Feeding Program, McDowell Healthcare Clinic, Native Health, one n ten, Southwest Behavioral Health Services, Southwest Center and Terros Health. Aunt Rita’s distributes free Home HIV Test Kits through GetTestedAz.org and provides vouchers for confidential HIV and syphilis tests at 100 Safeway stores and Sonora Quest locations statewide. Aunt Rita’s also created the HIV and Aging Initiative to provide the rapidly aging HIV-positive community with specialized support. Aunt Rita’s signature fund-raising events are AIDS Walk Arizona, Picnic in the Park and RED is the Night. Aunt Rita’s Foundation also works to increase awareness and education about HIV/AIDS statewide through HIVAZ.ORG. For more information, visit www.auntritas.org or call (602) 882-8675.

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

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Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.


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I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

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