Now that there’s a slight shade of fall in the air, the time has come for one of Tacoma’s most anticipated outdoor fundraising events – the 2013 South Sound AIDS Walk. Taking place at Cheney Stadium on Sept. 21, the push is on now for walkers – individuals or teams – to sign up and help raise vital funds to meet the growing needs for comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy services in Pierce, Thurston and Lewis counties.
“This year, we’re trying to do new things and also keep it as familiar for people as possible,” said Stacy Ellifritt, events and communications officer at Pierce County AIDS Foundation (PCAF). Among the new things is a free “Fundraise with Friends” mobile app for smartphones or compatible tablets in which registered participants can stay connected and encourage donations while on the go. This app is intended to help registered walkers fundraise at their convenience on any mobile device and to easily stay in touch with current donors, and recruit new ones.
Walkers have an enticing incentive this year to raise all the funds they can. Every $100 raised gets one entry into a drawing for a Seattle Adventure package for two. “So if they raise $300, their name will be in the drawing three times, and so on,” Ellifritt said. “We did this a number of years ago, and now we’re bringing it back.” A few package highlights: a one night stay in a deluxe king room at the sleek and modern Hyatt at Olive 8; a cruise around the Seattle Harbor with tour passes compliments of Argosy Cruises, a trip to Banya 5 urban spa complete with a Turkish steam room and tea lounge, and much more.
Hannah Febach is PCAF’s brand new volunteer coordinator. She’s very busy these days leading up to the Walk. “Right now I am focused on recruiting and coordinating over 150 volunteers,” she said, noting that PCAF offers multiple opportunities for volunteers during the day of the Walk – set up, clean up, photographer and videographer, greeters, route monitors and parking monitors.
Greeters welcome people as they walk into Cheney Stadium and point them in the direction of registration. Route monitors stand in groups of two to three at designated spots on the walk route. They cheer the walkers on, guide them in the right direction and provide any assistance needed. Parking monitors help direct traffic and make sure that people park in the designated parking areas and not in the way of the walk route. Interested? E-mail Febach at email@example.com or call her at (253) 383-2565.
“Also, we have a virtual walker option this year,” she said. “This is for people who would like to participate but can’t be there the day of the event or can’t physically walk the route. If they choose this option during online registration, they will gain access to all our fundraising tips and resources. This way they can participate in the success of the event without having to walk the route.”
This year is Sean Gregory’s first time to do the South Sound AIDS Walk, walking with the PCAF Warriors Team.
“I support the AIDS Walk because many people in my life have been afflicted by HIV and AIDS,” he said. “On a more personal note, I know what it's like to be that scared little gay boy (or gay man, in more recent years) in a doctor’s office alone waiting to see what the results will be. I contend that the biggest issue that HIV positive people face is the social stigma, more so than the disease itself. I think it is important to humanize HIV positive people and the most important work/support we can provide is educating the masses and ending the stigma.”
Eric Felt has “walked the Walk” for the past three years after learning of it through PCAF’s annual Dining Out for Life event.
“The more I became vocal about my personal support of PCAF, the more people around me shared their personal stories,” Felt said. “I had friends I had known for a long time who have come forward and thanked me for my support of this cause – they had been living with HIV for years and were always afraid to say anything. It really made me realize that there is still so much social stigma around this disease, and this has really inspired me to do what I can to make a difference.”
Felt is captain of the 17-member Red Team with co-captain Marc Larson. “We are all friends, and friends of friends, and now new friends. The first year we participated we raised about $2,500 as a team. Last year, we were able to raise over $5,000, so this year we decided as a team to try for $10,000.”
This is also Laurie Lauerman’s third year to walk as captain of Team Schmoopie Pie. “PCAF does so much for the community, and I want to be a part of that,” she said. “I think there is a misconception in the public mind that people don't die of AIDS or complications arising from AIDS anymore and that it isn't still being spread. Tacoma has the second highest population of those living with AIDS in the state of Washington, and I think we need to change that.”
To register for the AIDS Walk and to find out about all that’s going on that day, visit http://www.piercecountyaids.org.
How to Raise $500 in 9 days!
It’s easier than you think!
Day 1 Start by sponsoring yourself by $25.
Day 2 Ask two family members to sponsor you for $25.
Day 3 Ask five friends to contribute $10.
Day 4 Ask five coworkers to sponsor you for $10.
Day 5 Ask five neighbors to contribute $10.
Day 6 Ask five people from your religious organization or other group to contribute $10.
Day 7 Ask your boss for a company gift of $75. Does your company offer matching funds?
Day 8 Ask five local merchants to contribute $10.
Day 9 Ask two businesses you frequent to donate $25 (for example, your doctor, dentist, hair salon or dry cleaners).
Get Creative & Spread the Word!
Check out these FUNdraising ideas to raise more money and increase your chances of winning a prize!
Do you have an anniversary or birthday coming up? Ask your friends and family to donate to the South Sound AIDS Walk instead of buying you a gift.
Host an elegant cocktail or dinner party and charge admission to attend.
Host a summer barbeque and charge admission to attend.
Include information about the South Sound AIDS Walk and a link to your personal donation page in your email signature.
Post a link to the main South Sound AIDS Walk Web page on your company’s homepage.