AIDS Walk Miami is one of the oldest HIV/AIDS fundraisers in Florida, with walkers first taking to the streets to raise money for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention back in 1989. The event is still going strong today, with thousands of people participating each year. This year is the 27th annual AIDS Walk and it will take place on Sunday, April 26, starting at 9 a.m., rain or shine, starting from the Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach).
AIDS Walk Miami is a walking/running fundraiser that takes participants through a 3.1-mile course throughout Miami Beach. For many years it has raised money for Care Resource, which is the oldest HIV/AIDS community organization in South Florida. The money raised from the AIDS Walk will help Care Resource and its staff offer assistance such as primary medical care, dental care, psychosocial counseling and aftercare, community outreach, and HIV/AIDS prevention and education to over 15,000 people each year who are impacted by HIV/AIDS in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. The AIDS Walk will also benefit the Food for Life Network Food Bank, which is a subsidiary of Care Resource. Their mission is to eliminate starvation and malnutrition in adults and children impacted by HIV/AIDS. The food bank serves meals and offers grocery items, and the people who work at the food bank also offer nutritional counseling and education to people should they wish to participate.
AIDS Walk Miami offers so much support to these two programs and helps to spotlight the hard work that the volunteers and staff do every day here in South Florida. “As new HIV infection rates in Miami-Dade and Broward still rank the highest in the nation, all the awareness we can obtain about the Walk will help mobilize the community to step up and do what they can to reduce this epidemic,” Jonathan Welsh, marketing and development manager at Care Resource, said.
Before the race, a launch party will be held at the Miami Beach LGBT Visitor Center on Wednesday, April 22, starting at 7 p.m. People can sign up to participate and donate to the AIDS Walk at the party, and they can hear testimonials from team captains who will be participating this year as well as from people who have participated in the past. Care Resource staff will also be on hand to recognize these exemplary volunteers, as well as to introduce the grand marshal of the AIDS Walk and the master of ceremonies.
The AIDS Walk Miami grand marshal for this year is David Bromstad, a celebrity interior designer, television host and South Florida resident who was the winner of HGTV’s competition Design Star and is the host of the decorating show Color Splash. Robbin Simmons, reporter and co-anchor of the weekend news at WSVN-TV FOX 7, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event.
On the day of the walk, registration will open at the Miami Beach Convention Center (Hall D) starting at 8 a.m. The registration fee is $25. The opening ceremonies, hosted by Robbin Simmons, and the invocation will follow at 8:15. The walk will begin for all participants at 9 a.m., followed by a post-walk reception that will begin at 9:30 at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens. This reception will feature a live performance from Henry Santos, formerly of the group Aventura and the winner of the dancing competition Mira Quien Baila on Univision. There will also be music by DJ Suave, massages for all participants donated by Educating Hands School of Massage, as well as food and drinks.
All participants are expected to raise money either in their name or in their participating company’s name in the run-up to the event. People who raise $50 or more are eligible to receive a 2015 AIDS Walk Miami commemorative T-shirt. Organizers hope to raise $250,000 before the walk, and as of press time, over $80,000 had already been pledged. To donate directly to a person or team, go to aidswalkmiami.org and click on “give.” Want to donate directly to Care Resource? You can do that as well. Your 100% tax deductible donation can be made out to AIDS Walk Miami or Care Resource and sent to Care Resource, 3510 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 300, Miami, FL, 33137. Keep in mind that any donations you make might be eligible for a matching gift donated by your employer. To access the matching gift application form, visit aidswalkmiami.org. For any questions about matching gifts, call (305) 751-9255 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.