FORT LAUDERDALE – The 8th annual Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival took place Sunday, March 24, at Fort Lauderdale’s South Beach Park.
This year the walk will be hosted by Sheryl Lee Ralph, star of stage and screen and HIV activist, to be followed by a live performance by pop icon Chaka Khan, among other acts, after the 5k procession that begins and ends at Fort Lauderdale’s South Beach Park.
The annual fundraising 5k walk benefitting HIV/AIDS service providers has become a highly-anticipated event both for the citizen participants and the nonprofit organizations that receive much-needed funds that allow them to serve those living with HIV in South Florida.
This year’s beneficiaries include recurring recipients AHF, Broward House, Latinos Salud, Sunserve, Minority Development and Empowerment, Inc., and The Pride Center at Equality Park as well as new local beneficiary agencies like The Village and The League Against AIDS.
The organizations keep the money they raise through sponsoring teams of
walkers in addition to receiving a monetary beneficiary gift to help support their individual missions serving the community of people living with HIV in South Florida.
According to the state’s department of health, there are more than 4,500 new HIV infections in Florida every year, and an estimated 135,000 Floridians are currently living with HIV.
“I’m very excited about having the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival out on the beach again for the second year in a row,” said Mark Martin, event director.
“Our participants had a great time last year, and we’ve fine-tuned the event since then to make it even more enjoyable all around. Our attendees are going to have a great time walking alongside the beach, then dining on unique food from gourmet food-trucks and dancing in the sand to our incredible musical entertainment!
It’s almost easy to forget that this entire day is all for the great cause of caring for our Floridian friends and neighbors who are living with HIV.” The walk is sponsored primarily by AHF Pharmacy, a national chain of full-service pharmacies whose proceeds finance global work providing HIV/AIDS treatment, testing, and advocacy.
“South Florida is a fun, vibrant region with a thriving and empowered community, but the state still ranks 3rd in HIV/AIDS infections. The need to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease must remain a high priority,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF.
“We are very proud to once again support the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival to help the tireless organizations who assist those living with HIV in so many important ways.”