By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Sunday, September 20, the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City, the 5k Red Run and 1 Mile Fun Family Fun Run will take place at the Myriad Gardens in downtown Oklahoma City. All proceeds will go to benefit AIDS Walk OKC.
“AIDS Walk OKC is excited to embark on our 17th annual AIDS Walk OKC and 7th Annual 5K RED Run,” said Verna Meadows, AIDS Walk Board President.
“The event brings a diverse group together in support of those living with HIV/AIDS, providing education and prevention to reduce new infections, and supplying a forum to remember those we have lost to the disease,” Meadows continued.
In 2015 alone, the event had an estimated 2,500 participants and raised more than $25,000 for the Oklahoma City area AIDS Service Organizations.
“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,” Meadows stated.
“We are encouraging all participants to pre-register online and use The First Giving website,” Meadows added. “This will give individuals and teams the tools they need to successfully share their campaign through emails and social media, with a quick and easy as well as secure way to give.”
Registration for the Annual 5K Red Run, sponsored by Dell, will open at 7:30 a.m. and will step off at 9 a.m. at Sheridan Avenue, east of Robinson. Registration is $30 in advance or $35 on the day of the run. Participants on the day of the run can pay $30 by bringing a new unused toy to donate to Toys For Tots.
The fee includes a T-shirt, fruit, sports drink, water, and a swag bag.
All Red Run participants will receive a medal for finishing. Trophies will be given to the top male and female finisher. The run is sanctioned and certified by USA Track & Field.
New this year will be the 1 mile Family Fun Run. Fun Run Registration also begins at 7:30 a.m with the start time to follow shortly after the 5K run. Registration is $25 in advance, $30 day of run, or $25 with a new unused toy to donate to Toys For Tots.
Registration for the one-mile AIDS Walk, themed “Step Together,” 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 forms for any of the events, as well as team packets, are available now online or can be obtained on the day of the event at the Myriad Gardens.
Walk trophies will be given in the following categories: team with the most walkers; walk team that raises the most money; individual who raises the most money; and individual or team who has raised the most money online through the First Giving website.
This year, instead of the Pooch Parade, local performers will provide live entertainment throughout the day. Many of the entertainers are titleholders in different pageant categories from local, state and national levels. Performers will be donating their tips to AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City.
Vendor space is available for $50 for businesses wanting to set up at the event. Nonprofits supported by AIDS Walk OKC and sponsor tables are available at no cost.
Interested individuals and organizations can email their request for space to [email protected] Vendors must provide their own tables, chairs and tents.
Since 1998, the AIDS Walk of Oklahoma City has locally distributed more than $660,000 to fund local programs focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and direct services to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS.
“Every dollar raised is spent right here in Oklahoma City,” said Meadows. “Whether you run, walk or attend the event, you are helping us to help stop this terrible disease.”
For more information, visit www.aidswalkokc.org.