The 34th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles drew approximately 10,000 participants this past Sunday, October 21 in Downtown Los Angeles. The walk to end AIDS by raising money for AIDS research, is a 6.2-mile fundraising that began and ended at L.A. City Hall in Grand Park.
There were many familiar faces on stage and walking in the crowds at this year’s event. Television personality Carson Kressley, three-time Emmy-winning actress Jean Smart, actor Garrett Clayton and actress-singer Frenchie Davis attended the opening ceremony alongside West Hollywood council member John Heilman and Congresswoman Maxine Waters to name a few.
Teenage girls (and some boys) went crazy when they spotted actor Jake T. Austin of Disney fame and the show The Fosters, among the thousands of walkers.
I want to take a moment to personally say thank you,” said Carl Schmid of ABC 7, from the podium. “I get a little emotional when I see crowds like this, because thanks to you guys, you help people like me. I’m HIV positive. And I’ve been living with HIV for eleven years now. And while I’m lucky, I have a fantastic job, and insurance, and I’m able to afford the lifesaving medicine that our friends at Gilead here provide for me–there are some people in Southern California that just need a little extra help. And by you all being here today, and by you fundraising and getting your teams together, you’re helping those people.”
Teams represented various corporations like Macy’s, Life Group LA, UCLA, Delta, and ABC 7. Walgreens was the Finishing Line sponsor and M.A.C. makeup helped raised $3,000 for the walk.
The proceeds from the walk benefit APLA Health, a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 15,000 people annually. APLA Health provides 20 services from 16 locations in Los Angeles County including medical, dental and mental health care; counseling and management for the use of antiviral drugs to prevent HIV/AIDS, commonly known as PrEP; health education and HIV prevention; and screening and treatment for people with sexually transmitted diseases.
APLA Health also provides food, housing support, benefits counseling, home health care and other services for people living with and affected by AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus which causes AIDS.
The inaugural AIDS WALK began in 1985 at Paramount Pictures. It moved to West Hollywood because of security concerns following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It then moved to downtown Los Angeles in 2016. Since its inception, the walk has raised more than $82 million.
To learn more on the AIDS WALK Los Angeles, visit: https://la.aidswalk.net/
Photos by Mike Pingel