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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Thousands expected at AIDSWalk

Sarah Smith/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sarah Smith/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Thousands of people will be participating in the Tucson AIDSWalk, which is taking place on the UA campus in order to raise money for those affected by HIV/AIDS on Sunday.

This will be the 22nd annual AIDSWalk and its fourth year taking place on the UA campus.

The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, which is putting on the event, said proceeds will go to the Tucson community through providing services such as HIV testing, prevention programs, food programs and medical assistance.

SAAF’s goal is to have 6,000 registered walkers and to raise over $180,000.

“”There is a lot of diversity,”” said Monique Vallery, the events coordinator. “”It’s a very family-friendly event. For some people, it will be their first AIDSWalk and there are others who will be doing their 22nd.””

Vallery expects anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people to register for the event and about 5,000 to 6,000 people to attend.

“”Our end goal is to get as many people registered as possible,”” she said. “”We want to communicate year-round with them to get them to volunteer with other things we do.

Someone volunteering their time is just as much a treasure as someone who donates money.””

People can register for the AIDSWalk online or during the event, which will begin at 7 a.m.

“”This year, right now as far as pre-registration we don’t have as many walkers yet, but the walkers we do have are giving more,”” Vallery said. “”It balances it out. We want to have as many people there as we can and have as many registered walkers to help them find other ways to get involved, to be able to give back and to give them recognition.””

Those registered for the event fundraise anywhere from $10, which is the registration fee, to the $12,000 raised by some teams..

“”Any donation will make a difference,”” Vallery said. “”Five dollars covers the cost of a food bag, which is a meal we deliver to clients daily. Ten dollars will cover an HIV test.””

Marc Canales, the volunteer coordinator, expects to use between 450 and 600 volunteers for the AIDSWalk.

“”I am looking forward to the interaction, just being out in the community and seeing the impact and the people who are impacted,”” Canales said.

Many of the current employees, like Canales, started as volunteers. Canales works in the same position he started in as a volunteer for SAAF.

T Loving, another employee who began as a volunteer, has lived in Tucson for 10 years and has participated in the Tucson AIDSWalk every year. This year T Loving, the youth programs coordinator, is working behind the scenes as a stage manager to ensure the event runs smoothly.

“”I think that every single moment that someone walks onto that campus, every single moment you see another face gather, is a really special and exciting moment for the event,”” she said. “”Every breath that is taken that day is a breath taken for the greater good of this community and that is very powerful to me.””

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