2012 SOUTH SOUND AIDS WALK

// 21st annual walk features new Cheney Stadium location, resource expo, community art projects, music, food and more

There is just one week left go until the 2012 South Sound AIDS Walk takes over Cheney Stadium. On Sept. 22, more than 1,000 people are expected to pack this new Walk venue to help raise money so that Pierce County AIDS Foundation (PCAF) can continue to meet our area’s growing needs for comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy services.

For the first time this year, the Walk will benefit PCAF clients not just in Pierce County, but in Thurston and Lewis counties as well. Thus, attendance records could very well be broken, as this year’s event will attract walkers from a wider area than ever before.

Those who wish to participate in the Walk but have not registered yet can do so at http://www.piercecountyaids.org. Registrations will also be taken the day of the Walk starting at 9 a.m. when all walkers will check-in, turn in donations and pick up their official South Sound AIDS Walk T-shirt.

A breakfast fare of light items such as bagels/pastries, coffee and juice will be available for all walkers to fuel up at the Metropolitan Market food tent. There will be music as well to help get the blood pumping with alt/pop/rock band Roman Holiday.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. on the main stage. Amanda Westbrooke, longtime co-host of TV Tacoma’s “City Line,” will return this year as master of ceremonies. After a few words from PCAF Executive Director Duane Wilkerson and others, a moment of silence will be held to remember loved ones who have succumbed to the disease.

Before heading out, walkers are invited to pick up a memorial red ribbon and write on it a message of hope, or a name, in honor of those affected by HIV/AIDS and to carry it during the Walk.

Walkers are also encouraged to stop by PCAF’s community art engagement project “Reflections” behind the main stage. There walkers can choose a round bicycle-type reflector, available in a variety of colors, and write a message to a loved one lost to AIDS, a note of encouragement to someone living with HIV/AIDS, or a statement about the epidemic. After the Walk, the reflectors will be taken to PCAF’s offices where a magnet will be glued to the back of each one so that the reflectors can be arranged in artistic patterns on the metal-sided PCAF building. PCAF Program Assistant Jill Frey is the creative mind behind this project. PCAF’s AIDS history panels will be up and on view as well, taking viewers on a visual journey through the AIDS crisis up to the present.

A community resource expo will be underway throughout the day featuring informational tables representing organizations in Pierce and Thurston counties such as Tacoma Rainbow Center, PFLAG-Olympia, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Pierce County YWCA, Stonewall Youth in Olympia and AIDS Housing Association of Tacoma, among many others.

At 10:30 a.m. the walk kicks off with Tacoma Rainiers mascot Rhubarb there to send the crowds off in his cheerful way.

After the walk, which takes less than an hour, Metropolitan Market will provide a barbeque lunch at 11:30 a.m. with more music from Roman Holiday.

Those who cannot make it to the Walk but would still like to give can visit http://www.piercecountyaids.org and sign up as a “virtual walker” or sponsor a team or individual.

REMEMBRANCE. Walkers are invited to pick up a memorial red ribbon and write on it a message of hope, or a name, in honor of those affected by HIV/AIDS.

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