By Kristin Grafft
Students are invited to support their community at the 25th anniversary of the Long Beach AIDS Walk on Sunday, June 2.
The event will be in Downtown Long Beach with the main festival area in front of the Aquarium of the Pacific, at 100 Aquarium Way. Registration and check in will begin at 7 a.m., followed by the opening ceremonies at 8 a.m. and concerts from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. when the event ends.
In celebration of their 25th anniversary, participants can now join five events. “We really wanted to add some other events for people to have fun while fundraising,” Garry Bowie, executive director for the Long Beach AIDS Foundation, said.
New this year is the beach life challenge obstacle course, which will be at the Pike, instead of the main festival area. Start times are still tentative, but it is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. A 50-mile bike-a-thon is planned at 7:30 a.m., a 25-mile bike-a-thon at 9 a.m., a 5k run starting at 8:30 a.m. and a 5k walkathon or pet walk at 9:30 a.m.
Students not participating in the activities are still welcome to attend and enjoy the main festival area. Along with the live music, booths will be set up by sponsors; including Kaiser Permanente, Frontiers LA magazine, Rite Aid and a radio station. Huberts Lemonade will give away samples and Monster energy drink may as well.
People also are encouraged to show their support by donating. Those who wish to make a donation may go to aidswalklb.org and look up participating people or teams they know. From there, they may then donate on their personalized fundraising page.
The money raised goes toward programs that service the HIV and AIDS victims of Long Beach and raise awareness in the community. Bowie said none of the money will go toward finding cures or research.
“There are plenty of organizations that already do that. What we do is service Long Beach, not fund pharmaceutical companies. This is all about funding our own community,” Bowie said.
This year, the money will go to “Project: Red Paint” a middle and high school HIV awareness-through-art program, “Block by Block” an outreach program for homeless citizens with HIV, and many other organizations.