RALEIGH – More than 250 people attended the third annual AIDS Walk & 5K Run this weekend in an effort to increase money available for related programs.
This event, led by the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolinas (AAS-C), took place at Dorothea Dix Park where individuals, business teams, families and even dogs participated in the event, helping to raise an estimated $50,000.
In addition to AAS-C, the North Carolina AIDS Action Network (NCAAN), LGBT Center of Raleigh and Crape Myrtle Festival assist in planning this event. Each organization receives a share of the proceeds although AAS-C takes home the lion’s share based on their status as the event lead, said AAS-C Executive Director Hector Salgado.
This year’s event almost doubled the 2016 run’s participation when 137 runners registered.
“The collaboration is really good, and we’ve also done some fine tuning,” Salgado said. “We were able to start planning earlier this year and have had a good group of people working on the event.”
The state of North Carolina currently ranks 42nd in spending per person who is living with HIV or AIDS. This lack of state funding means testing, education and prevention methods often fall to groups like the ones planning the run. They also help with housing, food and other needs that are concerns in the state population with people living with HIV, said Lee Storrow, executive director of NCAAN.
The state currently has more than 36,000 people living with HIV and AIDS, according to the North Carolina Health and Human Services. “An estimated 3,400 are undiagnosed and unaware that they are affected,” a report from the agency stated.
“We operate a food pantry that receives no funding,” Salgado said. “Two years ago we were giving out six tons of food. This year so far we’re up to 30 tons of food.”
The pantry is available to low-income people regardless of HIV status, Salgado said. The funds raised at the race are going to fund a part-time food pantry coordinator and to help purchase food and other items needed for the pantry.
I'm a recovering journalist now living a Renaissance life working as a writer & political strategist. I also am the mom to 2 children, one of whom has autonomic dysfunction & Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder, I write about politics and healthcare in North Carolina.