26th annual Nashville CARES AIDS Walk slated for Sept. 23
By Leslee White | Photo Courtesy Nashville Cares
Nashville CARES presents the 26th annual 5k Walk and Run from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 23 beginning at Public Square Park and continues on a scenic walk or run through downtown Nashville.
The family and dog-friendly event is made up of more than 1,000 dedicated people who participate and help raise more than $200,000 each year. All donations and proceeds from the race go directly to Nashville CARES.
Some highlights for participants include performance awards, water and nutrition post-race, a community fair and expo, a fun raffle with great prizes, and more.
Participants can register to run, walk, or start a fundraiser. Anyone who raises $1,000 or more in their fundraiser becomes a member of the Gold Crown Club, which awards a gold crown as well as special promotions and perks on the day of the run. Last year’s Gold Crown members received free registration for this year’s walk.
AIDS is nothing new.
More than 35 million lives have been claimed by the disease and AIDS-related illnesses worldwide since the 1980s.
An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2014 with about one in seven being unaware of their infection. While the number of new diagnoses has dropped close to 20 percent between 2005 and 2014, there is still work to be done.
Nashville CARES has spent more than three decades trying to educate and assist those living with HIV and AIDS in Middle Tennessee. Individuals and families throughout all of Middle Tennessee receive direct services supported by Nashville CARES. The AIDS walk and sponsors make it possible for Nashville CARES to provide these services to all who seek support.
In just the last fiscal year, Nashville CARES educated 2,300 teenagers and more than 10,000 young adults about AIDS Prevention. They provided more than 100,000 meals to 1,570 people living with HIV and AIDS.
They’ve helped provide 2,400 nights of emergency or transitional lodging, helped 1,200 clients find housing or address housing needs, and paid more than $550,000 in mortgage, rent, and utilities for 580 people with HIV and AIDS.
They’ve distributed bus passes and gas vouchers to more than 6,000 people, paid for medical care and medicine for 4,700, dental care for 1,500, and manage a statewide program in contract with the Tennessee Department of Health that provides assistance for health insurance continuation to more than 4,000 people living with HIV and AIDS.
In addition to the support for current patients, they tested nearly 11,700 individuals and linked 50 of them who tested positive for HIV to care and support and distributed 250,000 direct prevention materials.
Nashville CARES is already looking ahead to 2018 and the 27th annual AIDS Walk. They are hoping to add a 10k to the event as well for more serious runners to enjoy.