Portland, September 23rd.  Cascade AIDS Project’s Board of Directors is celebrating a new fundraising record for AIDS Walk Portland of $525,000; the amount was $75,000 over CAP’s goal.  CAP will use the funds to support HIV testing, community education and services for families and children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. (Photo credit, Marty Davis)

Team Positive Force NW leading off the Walk. Some 150 HIV-Positive walkers wore red shirts as out and positive community members, out to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Kaplan and Sasser are among them.

Team “Positive Force NW” kicked-off the Walk. Some 150 HIV-Positive walkers wore red shirts as out and positive community members, out to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Kaplan and Sasser are among them.

Organizers estimate over 10,000 walkers joined in the fight against HIV/AIDS during this year’s walk.

A view from above the Square as 10,000 walkers wait to hear the words of Gov. Kitzhaber.

A view from above the Square as 10,000 walkers gather.

Elected Officials, waiting to address the crowd (l-R) Gov. John Kitzhaber, Mayor Sam Adams, Sean Sasser & Michael Kaplan (ED of CAP), Robert Goman of Nike, County Chair Jeff Cogen

Elected Officials took turns addressing the crowd including: Gov. John Kitzhaber, Mayor Sam Adams, Sean Sasser & Michael Kaplan (ED of CAP), Robert Goman of Nike, County Chair Jeff Cogen

In addition to breaking the half-million mark, AIDS Walk Portland drew a record number of elected officials.  Congresswoman Susanne Bonamici addressed a crowd of VIP walkers and sponsors during an exclusive breakfast at Departure atop The Nines Hotel.  Governor John Kitzhaber’s comments tied together the important work of health reform in Oregon with the goal of ending the HIV epidemic.  He also recognized the vaccine research being conducted at Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Mayor Sam Adams praised the leadership of Michael Kaplan and the CAP  Board.  Other elected officials showing support included:  Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen; State Senators Ginny Burdick and Jackie Dingfelder; State Representatives Alissa Keny-Guyer and Mary Nolan; Portland City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz; and Multnomah County Commissioners Judy Shiprack, Loretta Smith & Diane McKeel.

Words on the T-Shirt Express the hopes for a future without HIV

Words on the T-Shirt express hopes for a future without HIV.

Team Kimpton Hotel brought bedroom class with their signature animal print robes and a team of about 15 walkers representing Hotel Monaco, Vintage Plaza and Riverplace.

Team Kimpton Hotel brought bedroom class with their signature animal print robes and a team of about 15 walkers representing Hotel Monaco, Vintage Plaza and Riverplace.

A sea of people walking through The Pearl for AIDS Walk Portland, with Portland Gay Men's Chorus wearing their signature purple shirts.

A sea of people walking through The Pearl for AIDS Walk Portland, with Portland Gay Men’s Chorus wearing their signature purple shirts. (Photo courtesy of PGMC)

CAP Executive Director, Michael Kaplan, recently announced his decision to accept the position of President and CEO of AIDS United, a national nonprofit headquartered in Washington, DC. An organization committed to ending the AIDS epidemic in the U.S.  Michael’s last day at CAP will be November 15, 2012.

“CAP’s Board of Directors couldn’t be more excited about the outcome of this year’s walk,” said Jackie Yerby, Board Chair.  “With the announcement last week of Michael’s departure and on the heels of a very successful AIDS Walk Portland, the Board feels well-positioned to guide CAP through the next transition as we begin an Executive Search. CAP is a very strong organization.  We have a top-notch team of Directors as well as a group of staff and volunteers who are deeply committed to CAP’s mission.”

More than 7,000 people are living with HIV in Oregon, 20% of whom don’t know they are HIV positive.  AIDS Walk Portland raises critical funds to support those living with the virus and those at risk of infection.  Knowing your status and having access to healthcare are the two most important factors related to one’s sexual health, next to practicing safe sex (using a condom).

From CAP:

Absent a cure for HIV, prevention and education are our best strategies for ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Here at CAP we recognize that everybody, no matter who they are, can gain the information and skills to keep themselves and their communities safe. We work with individuals, couples, families, communities, policy makers, schools, the media and more to ensure that everyone has access to the resources we all need to prevent the spread of HIV.

More information can be found at http://cascadeaids.org/

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