By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 2014 OKC AIDS Walk, themed “Step Together,” is set for Sunday Sept. 28 at the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City. The event is family friendly and includes the Walk, a 5K Run and a Pooch Parade Fashion Show. All proceeds benefit AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City, Inc.
Registration for the 6th annual 5k Red Run opens at 7:30 a.m. at the Bricktown Ballpark. The Run will begin at 9 a.m. Registration is $25 in advance and $30 the day of the run.
All participants in the Red Run will receive a medal and trophies will be given to the top finishers. Trophies will also be given for the 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 through the First Giving website.
In 2013 alone, the event had an estimated 2,000 participants and raised more than $36,000 for the Oklahoma City area AIDS Service Organizations.
“AIDS Walk OKC is excited to embark on our annual AIDS Walk OKC & 5K Run,” said AIDS Walk Board President Verna Meadows.
“The event brings a diverse group together in support of those living with HIV/AIDS, education and prevention to reduce new infections and a forum to remember those we have lost to the disease. We are most grateful to those who raise funds to support the campaign; the funds make it possible for us to continue our necessary work in the metro.”
Registration for the one-mile AIDS Walk begins at 12:30 p.m. and it will step off at 2 p.m. at the Myriad Botanical Gardens on the southwest corner of Reno and Robinson. The event is free and open to the public.
Pre-registration for any of the events can be done online at aidswalkokc.org or on the day of the event.
Pooch Parade registration for $5 starts at 12:30 p.m. and steps off at 1 p.m. All dogs in the Parade must be in costume and on a leash. Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. The OK Save a Dog non-profit organization will again be in attendance to promote adoption.
The Prague, OK based nonprofit, is committed to saving as many dogs as possible. Kim Bowers, director of OK Save A Dog said, “We are thrilled to be at the AIDS Walk, such fantastic people and warm reception. Our invitation to participate means so much to us and the dogs who benefit from many great homes found there.”
New this year is a Family Fun Fest from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. This will give participants and attendees more time to browse through the vendors and see the services provided by AIDS Service Organizations that AIDS Walk OKC provides grants. Every dollar raised is given directly back to the community.
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. Tables and chairs must be provided by vendors.
The mission of the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City is to build awareness about HIV/AIDS and to raise funds to support the work of nonprofit organizations that provide HIV/AIDS direct care, support services, and education.
AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City, Inc. is a 100-percent volunteer organization. There are no paid staff members, which allows the organization to award more money to the HIV/AIDS community in the Oklahoma City area.
Since 1998, the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City has locally distributed more than $635,000 to fund local programs focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and direct services to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS.
Oklahoma City attorney Jim Roth said, “This disease must be beaten, and funds are still needed to assist those living with HIV and AIDS in our home state. Silence is our enemy and so the OKC AIDS Walk is an important clarion call that more must be done if we are to achieve an AIDS-free generation.”
For more information, visit aidswalkokc.org.