On Sunday, June 9, the AIDS Walk & Music Festival Baltimore raised more than $150,000 to support LGBTQ-friendly health care provider Chase Brexton Health Care’s HIV testing and support services.
The event drew more than 500 walkers, sponsors, performers, and volunteers, who, for the first year, were able to enjoy performances by musical artists Davon Fleming, Shelby Blondell, and Nelly’s Echo at Power Plant Live! following the walk, which circled around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Chase Brexton, the lead organizer of the event, was joined by 10 Community Partners, all of which had the opportunity to sponsor teams of walkers to raise money for the event, with half of the amount raised going to benefit those partner organizations.
Those partners included AIDS Action Baltimore, Gilchrist, The Jacques Initiative, The John G. Bartlett Specialty Practice at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Moveable Feast, Planned Parenthood, The Pride Center of Maryland, Park West Health System, Project Please, and Total Health Care.
Special guests at the event included Montel Williams and emcees Kai Jackson and Brandi Proctor of WBFF Fox 45.
Aaron Cahall, communications manager for Chase Brexton Health Care, says that proceeds from Sunday’s event have been earmarked for the community health center’s new medication delivery services, which allows HIV-positive people on treatment to have their medications delivered directly to home or work for ease of convenience.
This will ensure that people continue taking their medications and keep their viral loads low, decreasing the chance that they will transmit the virus to others.
“It removes a practical, but very common barrier,” Cahall told Metro Weekly.
Chase Brexton will continue accepting donations online at www.baltimoreaidswalk.org through June 30.
Becky Frank, vice president of marketing and development for Chase Brexton, praised those who assisted with Sunday’s event, which was deemed a success, raising significantly more than the $80,000 raised by last year’s walk.
“So many walkers, volunteers, and teams came out to support our AIDS Walk & Music Festival,” Frank said in a statement. “The funds raised by their efforts will make a huge difference in our fight to increase access to critical medications, prevent new HIV cases in Baltimore and provide care to those already affected.”