Participation in, Donations to Denver AIDS Walk Decline
Participation in and donations to AIDS Walk Colorado declined this year, the Denver Post reports. Organizers for the walk, which was held on Sunday to benefit Colorado AIDS Project, estimated that 7,500 people participated in the walk, down 37% from the 12,000 people who took part last year. Although the amount of money raised by participants is not yet known, organizers said they expected the total to be "well below" the 1997 record high of $1.46 million and last year's total of $880,000. The walk, which provides money for 30 service and education programs, is Colorado AIDS Project's largest fundraiser. "We are going to feel the impact of this [decline in donations] for the next 12 months," Jacqueline Long, a group spokesperson, said. She said that participation has decreased as the sense of urgency surrounding HIV/AIDS has diminished. "There is a misconception in this country that AIDS is cured or is something you can live with. That is simply not true," Long said, adding that other AIDS walks across the country have faced similar participation declines in recent years (Merritt, Denver Post, 8/26).
AIDS Walk Wisconsin Participants Await Word on Celebrity Host
In related news, participants in this year's AIDS Walk Wisconsin, which will take place on Sept. 29 in Milwaukee and Madison, are awaiting word on who the walk's celebrity host will be, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Madonna, figure skater Rudy Galindo and actors Whoopi Goldberg, Eric McCormack, Bill Brochtrup, Benjamin Bratt and Ming-Na have all been featured in an advertising campaign promoting the Wisconsin walk and similar walks around the country. "At least" one of the celebrities has agreed to attend the walk in Milwaukee, according to organizers, who are keeping the identity of the celebrity host a secret. Kirsten Mulvey, director of development for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, one of the 12 beneficiaries of the walk, said in a statement that several other "local notables" and public officials will also attend the event. Last year, 6,500 people participated in the walk and raised $621,000. Organizers hope participation will increase this year (Marchione, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/26).