The Douglas County AIDS Project will host its annual AIDS Walk on Saturday.
This year, in addition to the annual one-mile walk, the event will include a 5K run. Kristin Brumm, DCAP executive director, said Don "Red Dog" Gardner, who runs Red Dog's Dog Days community workout program, agreed to support the event and is slated to lead participants in warm-up exercises before the run.
"We really want to encourage more participation from runners in the community," Brumm said.
All proceeds will go directly to support DCAP's services, which include case management for HIV-positive community members, HIV prevention and education programming, and free HIV counseling and testing. Brumm said last year's walk raised $15,000, and the goal is to double that amount this year.
But Brumm emphasized that the event's purpose goes beyond necessary fundraising.
"I think there is a dual message," she said. "The first being a message of awareness of HIV and AIDS as an issue that hasn't gone away and still needs attention. The second is to express appreciation for the tremendous amount of support our organization has received."
On average in Kansas, when a person tests positive for HIV, he or she has been positive for nine years before being tested. Brumm said that's a problem the community needs to address, and she hopes this event will help to encourage that.
"It's a fun way to bring our supporters together," she said.
The run will start at 7:45 a.m. at Maceli's, 1031 N.H., followed by the start of the walk at 8 a.m. Both routes will travel through downtown Lawrence.
The event will conclude with an awards ceremony and breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the restaurant.
For more information, see http://douglascountyaidsproject.org/.