This Sunday morning so many of us non morning people hauled ourselves out of a weekend slumber to help raise money for a very important cause, AIDS and HIV. We were lucky, though, that the morning was absolutely beautiful. I began it at a brunch overlooking the AIDSwalk gathering at Pioneer Square with a brunch at the Nine’s Hotel’s rooftop bar Departure. It was heartwarming and overwhelming to watch the crowd swell towards a record-breaking amount raised. Below is a press release from Cascade AIDS Project (CAP) recounting how we got there. But first I just wanted to relate my favorite moment of the morning, which was Psion Waters’ excitement about getting a hug from the Governor. Thanks for being there Kitzhaber!
CAP’s Board of Director’s is excited to announce a new record in funds raised by the 26th annual AIDS Walk Portland. More than $525,000 was raised, $75,000 more than CAP’s stated goal. CAP will use these funds to support activities like HIV testing, community education and services for families and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. It is estimated that over 10,000 walkers joined in the fight against HIV/AIDS during this year’s walk.
“CAP’s Board of Directors couldn’t be more excited about the outcome of this year’s walk,” said Jackie Yerby, Board Chair. “With the announcement last week of Michael’s departure and on the heels of a very successful AIDS Walk Portland, the Board feels well-positioned to guide CAP through the next transition as we begin an Executive Search. CAP is a very strong organization. We have a top-notch team of Directors as well as a group of staff and volunteers who are deeply committed to CAP’s mission.” CAP Executive Director, Michael Kaplan, has recently announced his decision to accept the position of President and CEO of AIDS United, a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, DC committed to ending the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. Michael’s last day at CAP will be November 15, 2012.
Beyond breaking the half-million mark for the first time ever, AIDS Walk Portland also drew a record number of elected officials participating in the event. Congresswoman Susanne Bonamici addressed a crowd of VIP walkers and sponsors during an exclusive breakfast at Departure atop The Nines Hotel. Governor John Kitzhaber addressed the crowd of over 10,000 walkers from the main stage in Pioneer Courthouse Square. His comments tied together the important work of health reform in Oregon with the goal of ending the HIV epidemic. He also recognized the vaccine research being conducted at Oregon Health and Sciences University.
Mayor Sam Adams closed the comments by elected officials with praise for the leadership of Michael Kaplan and the Board at CAP. Other elected officials present on stage to show support included: Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen; State Senators Ginny Burdick and Jackie Dingfelder; State Representatives Alissa Keny- Guyer and Mary Nolan; Portland City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz; and Multnomah County Commissioners Judy Shiprack, Loretta Smith & Diane McKeel.
More than 7,000 people are living with HIV in Oregon, 20% of whom don’t know they are HIV positive. AIDS Walk Portland raises critical funds to support those living with the virus and those at risk of infection. Knowing your status and having access to healthcare are the two most important factors related to one’s sexual health, next to practicing safe sex (using a condom).
About Alley Hector
Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.