Portland, October 2nd.  Over 10,000 walkers filled the streets of downtown Portland to raise funds and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Daren Parks, Regional Training Manager for 24 Hour Fitness lead the warm up. (photo Credit Mike Burt)

Daren Parks, Regional Training Manager for 24 Hour Fitness lead the warm up. (photo Credit Mike Burt)

This year marked the 25th anniversary of AIDS Walk Portland, an event that draws people from all walks of life and raises a tenth of Cascade AIDS Project’s (CAP) budget. The goal for the year’s walk was $400,000 but cash continues to come in as late donors drop off cash or donate online, and corporations with matching programs issue checks.  Agency leadership anticipates the final total to achieve nearly $465,000.

Michael Kaplan, Executive Director of Cascade AIDS Project asks for a moment of silence in memory of the 600,000 lost to HIV in the US over the past 30 years.

Michael Kaplan, Executive Director of Cascade AIDS Project asks for a moment of silence in memory of the 600,000 lost to HIV in the US over the past 30 years.

 

Tim Hershey, Regional Vice President of Retail, North America addressed the crowd about Nike’s commitment to fight HIV/AIDS

Tim Hershey, Regional Vice President of Retail, North America addressed the crowd about Nike’s commitment to fight HIV/AIDS

 

Some 10,000 Walkers came out to walk the 2.5 mile route. (photo Credit Mike Burt)

Some 10,000 Walkers came out to walk the 2.5 mile route. (photo Credit Mike Burt)

“We are floored at the outpouring of support from this year’s walk,” said Michael Kaplan, Executive Director of Cascade AIDS Project. “CAP and its partners have been raising funds to fight HIV/AIDS for over 25 years now. Though the needs of those living with HIV/AIDS have changed, the need for our services has not. There are still over 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S every year and more than one million Americans infected. We can’t afford not to take action. For several years now, we have been working to raise the profile of HIV/AIDS as a concern, and our message is clearly being heard.”

Mr. Kaplan was referring to recent studies that suggest the general population has shifted its attention away from HIV/AIDS as a concern, even though there has not been a reduction in new HIV cases for over a decade. A lack of media presence and a perception of improved medical treatments seem to have made HIV/AIDS less of a concern for many Americans according to the study.

“We are pleased with our supporters, walkers and sponsors,” said Michael Sorensen, Director of Development. “We made sincere improvements in the walk and how folks can donate or participate.  Integrating facebook with the fundraising site and pushing hard on proven media strategies seems to have been the right strategy.  Analytics suggests about 30% of our donors responded to a post on facebook while 50% found our fundraising site by typing in the name of the site. This means facebook works and that aidswalkportland.org has a presence in donor’s minds.”

 

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