By Darla Shelden
Grab your sneakers, sunglasses and leashes and join the 2012 OKC AIDS Walk. This year it will include a 5K run and a Pooch Parade fashion show on Sunday, September 23. The fun filled family day will be held in downtown Oklahoma City. All proceeds benefit AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City, Inc.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. for the fourth annual 5k run sponsored by Dell at the Bricktown Ballpark. The run begins at 9 a.m. Registration is $20 in advance and $25 the day of the run. Register at www.aidswalkokc.org.
AIDS Walk teams and individuals may register by visiting www.aidswalkokc.org or they can also sign up the day of the walk. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Myriad Botanical Gardens on the southwest corner of Reno and Robinson and the walk steps off at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
New this year is the addition of a Pooch Parade. Registration for the parade begins at noon, with the fashion show starting at 12:30 p.m. All dogs in the parade must be in costume and on a leash. Trophies will be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The registration fee is $5.
“In addition, OK Save A Dog Foundation will be in attendance for adoptions like last year,” said AIDS Walk Board President John Greer.
The OK Save a Dog is a non-profit organization in Prague, Oklahoma, committed to saving as many dogs as possible.
“We are thrilled to be at the AIDS walk, such fantastic people and warm reception,” said Kin Bowers, director of OK Save A Dog. “Our invitation to participate means so much to us and the dogs who benefit from many great homes found there.”
“This year’s AIDS Walk returns to the Myriad Gardens after being away due to renovations at the Garden,” said Greer. “We hope to expand on the day’s events by adding the 1st annual Pooch Parade. In the past, animals were not allowed at the Myriad Gardens, but since a dog park has been added. Animals are now allowed throughout the park and we are able to accommodate the requests from the past to include pets in the day’s activities.”
Trophies will be given for the AIDS Walk team with the most walkers, the walk team that raises the most money, the individual who raises the most money and the individual or team who has raised the most money online at FIRST GIVING.
The 4th Annual 5K run is sanctioned and certified by “USA Track & Field.” The entry fee also includes a T-shirt, fruit, sports drink, water, and a swag bag. Awards will be given for best overall male and female finishers. There will be medals for the top 3 finishers of each age group and gender.
“The FIRST GIVING website may be used to setup your fundraising page and e-mail family and friends so they may donate to it,” said Greer. “It is safe and very easy to raise funds for the cause.”
In addition, vendor space is free to anyone wanting to set up at the event. Interested individuals and organizations should send an email to [email protected] to request space. Vendors must provide tables and chairs.
Since 1998, the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City has locally distributed more than $500,000 to fund local programs focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and direct services to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS. Last year grants totaling $60,000 were allocated to support these programs.
“We hope the 5k run will continue to grow again this year, expanding our audience and their awareness of our message of HIV/AIDS,” said Greer.
The 20th annual Turn About Show, which is sponsored by the HiLo Club, 1221 Northwest 50th Street, will again take place the night before benefitting the AIDS Walk.
For more information or to become a sponsor of AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City & 5k Run download the online sponsorship form available at www.aidswalkokc.org or call Board President John Greer at 405-812-1630.