Walkers - dust off those shoes
It's nearly time again to dust off your running shoes for Nashville's Annual AIDS Walk benefiting Nashville CARES. The event is set for Saturday, Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bicentennial Mall.
Backed this year by presenting sponsor Nashville Pharmacy, the AIDS Walk is one of the largest annual fundraisers for Nashville CARES, and proceeds are used in the fight against HIV and AIDS locally.
The AIDS Walk is especially important to the GLBT community because gay men are heavily affected by HIV/AIDS.
"Gay men remain the largest group impacted by the disease, representing more than half of the new local infections we are seeing annually," said Nashville CARES CEO Joseph Interrante.
"The AIDS Walk is an opportunity not only to remind the community that AIDS still threatens us but also to raise private funds that allow us to do the kind of gay-affirming HIV prevention work restricted by other sources," he said.
The day's events include a pancake breakfast, stage entertainment, kids' and family activities and a health and wellness fair. The easy, two-mile walk begins at noon and will be followed by a brief awards ceremony at about 12:45 p.m.
Nashville CARES has been organizing the AIDS Walk for more than 15 years. Participants can walk as individuals or form teams and usually raise between $50 and $5,000.
The event brought in $178,000 to Nashville CARES last year. Their goal this year is $185,000.
Each year, many GLBT teams and their allies come together to participate.
This year, some groups - including Artrageous 21 (Glitz & Glam), Brothers & Sisters United, Conductors, Music City Cars, Middle Tennessee Bear Alliance, Nashville in Harmony, the Smoky Mountain Rodeo Association, and Young Brothers United - signed up as early as August.
Perennial top fundraisers Tim Harkum, co-owner of Stirrup Nashville, and the team formed by Tribe, Play Dance Bar and Red, are back with lofty goals.
"I've been involved for the last ten years now," Harkum said. "The reason I do it is because it is the right thing to do. We have a fun time doing it, and all my friends get involved in it."
Harkum said the his team hopes this year to top the $14,000 they raised last year.
Between 1,200 to 1,400 people participate in the walk each year. Nashville CARES hopes to have 1,500 registered walkers this year.
David Taylor, co-owner of Tribe and Red said, the team works for about five weeks to raise as much money as they can for CARES.
"Nashville CARES is an important charity for us because what Nashville CARES does is important," Taylor said. "We start that right after labor day, and we push it for a good five weeks. We put posters up and announce it at the drag show. It gets customers involved."
This year, Taylor said the Play, Tribe, and Red team hopes to raise at least a couple thousand dollars.
Nashville CARES is a nonprofit organization that educates more than 40,000 youth and adults, and provides a full range of direct support services to more than 2,200 men, women and children with HIV/AIDS and their families.
To become a part of the Nashville AIDS Walk, sign up for the AIDS Walk online at www.NashvilleAIDSWalk.com.