Walking the walk
take an autumn
Cleveland--The John T. Carey Memorial AIDS Walk�s second year on the east side of Cleveland had organizers basking in both sunlight and success on October 7.
After moving from Edgewater Park on the west side to University Circle on the east side last year, the sophomore effort in the new location brought in additional corporate sponsorships, according to Earl Pike, executive director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, one of eleven organizations that benefit from the walk.
Walkers began to gather in the early morning on the Wade Oval lawn, surrounded by museums and the Botanical Garden. As the dew evaporated from the grass, they were entertained by singer Jami Ross, the North Coast Men�s Chorus, DJ Deviant and the Burning River Roller Girls before setting off at 10 am.
Led by a marching band, the procession followed a curving path through booths for community organizations, then across Euclid Avenue and though the atrium of University Hospitals. Leaving the hospital, they passed the Special Immunology Unit, also named for Carey, crossed Euclid again and wound through the Case Western Reserve University campus before returning to the oval.
Nearly 1,000 walkers were counted as they passed the corner of Euclid and Mayfield.
In addition to the Taskforce, funds raised by the walk go to Proyecto Luz, the Hispanic Urban Minority Alcohol and Drug Abuse Outreach Program, the Agape program of Antioch Baptist Church, Camp Sunrise, the Cleveland LGBT Center, the Free Clinic, Planned Parenthood, the Women�s Center of Greater Cleveland, the Ohio AIDS Coalition and Community AIDS Network of Akron.
Pike noted that it was too soon for even preliminary counts from the walk. The website being used for online donations, www.firstgiving.com, does not give a running tally of online donations, as other systems do. However, First Giving charges lower administrative fees than their most notable competitor, Kintera.
�I would rather raise $180,000 with 25 percent expenses than a million dollars with 90 percent expenses,� Pike said last year, explaining the change in general terms.
First Giving does, however, show the top team and individual fundraisers.
MAC Cosmetics was in first place as of October 10, raising over $6,000 online.
Even without a count of funds raised, Pike called the 16th annual walk a success.
�There certainly were teens we had never seen before, high schools that hadn�t participated before,� he said, noting one group came on a school bus.
�One thing I was saying all day that I was really happy about was seeing so many young people,� he noted. �Everybody seemed to be having a good time. We�re accomplishing something.�