CHICAGO — More than 1,800 advocates, community partners, runners, walkers, volunteers, staff members and more gathered at Soldier Field on Oct. 2 for the 30th annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. The event raised approximately $420,000 (as of Oct. 2; online fundraising efforts will continue through November 1) to directly support AIDS Foundation Chicago and 26 community organizations (full list below) providing essential programs and services for those living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS or other chronic illnesses.
The top five individuals, collectively raising approximately $38,100, include C-Paz Fights AIDS ($10,295); Ben Sprunger ($8.700); Scott Miller ($7,255); Ernie Rodriguez ($6,750); and Hannah Kopach ($5,108). The top fundraising teams, collectively raising approximately $129,400, include Chicago House ($39,426); Season of Concern ($30,249); Team CCHIP-CORE Austin ($21,802); Team Center on Halsted ($20, 915); and Howard Brown Health ($17,096). A full list of supporters can be found at aidsrunwalk.org .
"Forward Together was the theme of this year's event, and that is exactly what we did. We moved forward together after a challenging 18 months and were extremely grateful for all of the supporters who safely gathered to raise essential funds for those who need it most," said AFC President and CEO John Peller.
Proceeds from the event directly benefitted AFC and 26 and community organizations including Agape Missions, NFP; AMITA Health Housing & Health Alliance (#TeamAlliance); Above & Beyond; Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago; Center on Halsted; Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus; Chicago Dancers United; Chicago House & Social Service Agency; Chicago Recovery Alliance; CCHIP - Cook County HIV Integrated Programs; Erie Family Health Centers; Esperanza Health Centers; Howard Brown Health Center; Legal Council for Health Justice; Lurie Children's SID; Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation/"Michael Reese Care Program"; Mother & Child Alliance; Making A Daily Effort (MADE) / Nefuse; The Night Ministry; Open Door Health Center of Illinois; Pride Action Tank; Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago; Season of Concern; Transforming Re-Entry Services (MWIPM)
University of Chicago/CCHE; Sinai Health System. All community organizations are actively working towards Getting to Zero, a state-wide initiative to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030.
Beyond fundraising, AIDS Run & Walk Chicago served as a memorial for loved ones lost to complications of HIV and AIDS as well as a reflection on the work that has been done and yet to come to eradicate HIV over the years.
The opening ceremonies, emceed by WGN TV/Radio Entertainment Reporter Dean Richards, featured performances from the Lakeside Pride Marching Band, remarks from speakers including AFC President and CEO John Peller; AFC Board Chair Craig Johnson; Artist/philanthropist/AFC Communications and Community Mobilization Senior Manager D'Ontace Keyes; U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-Illinois); Illinois State Senator Robert Peters (District 13); and Illinois State Senator (District 7) Mike Simmons.
The event also featured workout warm-ups led by Tfal and Chi; music by DJ Harry Tyner Jr.; free flu shots and COVID-19 testing and vaccinations sponsored by Walgreens; McDonalds sponsored breakfast; beer garden sponsored by MillerCoors; free hotdogs from Oscar Mayer; and a variety of booths providing HIV and COVID resources.
5k and 10k runners and 5k walkers advanced through the sunny course along Chicago's Lake Michigan, and winners included the following:
Female: Justin Hollister
Male: Alex Hanskat
Gender-neutral: Megan Elk
Female: Nisa Cabrera
Male: Katie Bean
Gender-neutral: Ryan Magnoni
A full list of participant finish times is available at aidsrunwalk.org .