AIDS Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ 16th Annual AIDS Walk/5k Run & Festival

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The AIDS Foundation of Western Massachusetts (AFWM) is proud to announce that the 16th Annual AIDS Walk of Western Massachusetts & 5K Run is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Forest Park.

100% of the proceeds from this crucial fundraising event directly benefit the communities of Hampden and Hampshire counties by providing emergency financial assistance and education to individuals infected or affected by the HIV/AIDS illness.

The AIDS Foundation of Western Massachusetts, Inc. (AFWM) is a non-profit public organization dedicated to assisting people who are living with HIV and AIDS in Hampden and Hampshire counties. We are an independent organization that supplements the existing network of direct and indirect AIDS service organizations. Our goal is to provide practical and enlightened support to regional residents who are in need of financial, social and emotional help.

Since it was founded in 1993, the AFWM has helped countless individuals living in Western Massachusetts who struggle with affording basic costs such as rent, medical bills, utilities, and even necessary furnishings like mattresses or disability accommodations.

Rob Quinn, a recipient of the grants program states: “As I am disabled and on a fixed income, I did not have monies available for the vision and oral health care services I needed. I applied to the Foundation four different times for financial assistance, and all of my applications were funded. I am very grateful because without their existence, I would not have been able to receive this care, which is so vital to my health and well-being.”

The HIV/AIDS community needs support now more than ever. With the current state of the economy and the increased prevalence of the virus, more and more HIV positive individuals turn to the Foundation for support. On September 8th 2012, Western Massachusetts has the opportunity to lend its supports and walk/run for AIDS.

Robert Prattico, a volunteer at AFWM states: “People underestimate the daily obstacles caused by HIV/AIDS. It is a serious disability that takes away time and energy for basic daily tasks that people easily take for granted. Most who struggle with the illness receive little income to afford various costs of living. The AIDS Foundation provides a financial option where and when there is nothing else. I am proud to be a part of such an organization that provides not only assistance but education for individuals who struggle living with the virus. Every energy and contribution counts.”

Participants are encouraged to start their own team by inviting friends, family, co-workers, church members, and running-mates. All are welcome to join the family-friendly fun of the annual AIDS Walk! Entertainment and water will be provided along the route this year, and prizes will be given to the first male and female runners to cross the finish line. In addition, a festival will follow with live music, vendors, barbeque, raffles, and on-site HIV-testing. This year, we will also feature an all new children’s area with games, prizes, crafts, dancing and more!

Participants can register online by visiting our website, or our facebook page, Facebook.com/AIDSfoundWM.

The 16th Annual AIDS Walk of Western Massachusetts will take place on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at Forest Park in Springfield near Cyr Arena and the Grandstand. Registration opens at 10 a.m. For more information, those interested in participating may call (413) 301-0955, send an email to info@aidsfoundationwm.org, or visit www.aidsfoundationwm.org