30th AIDSWALK Touches the Hearts of Hundreds

On the morning of Sunday, October 14th, 2018 hundreds of people gathered early in Downtown Tucson to show their support for the 30th Annual AIDSWALK Tucson.

Everyone has a different reason for walking, some very personal while others walk due to a strong sense of community.  No matter the reason, the presence of approximately 500 participants and an additional 350 volunteers showed resounding support for the HIV/AIDS prevention and care services provided by the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF).

The event began early with a fun run, where joggers traversed puddles under blue skies as they ran through the streets of downtown, being cheered on every time they circled through the main event stage.  Shortly after, Wendell Hicks, SAAF’s Executive Director, took to the stage to remind everyone why they came out to support AIDSWALK: “We need you to continue this walk, to build on the strides we’ve made in fighting HIV/AIDS and to take the steps to move us closer to reducing the spread of new infections in our community.”

Over thirty years later, the Tucson community still stands up when it comes to helping the most vulnerable among us.

Wendell went on to ask the crowd full of hundreds of people to raise their hand if it was their first AIDSWALK.  Many hands rose.  For some it was their first AIDSWALK, for others, their tenth, twentieth, and even thirtieth.

As part of the 30th AIDSWALK Tucson, several individuals and organizations were honored for their continuing support.  Danielle Bautista accepted an award for Desert Diamond Casinos and Entertainment for their 23 years of commitment and partnership as the AIDSWALK Title Sponsor since 1995.  Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea was also honored as a longtime community partner for AIDSWALK for their 30 years of support.  In addition, Curt Beal and Anne Maley were honored with paper prayers for their longtime support and received the awards of Longtime AIDSWALK Volunteer and Longtime AIDSWALK Walker respectively.

Just prior to bringing Cecilia Rose, Stefi, and BreakOut Studios onstage to help participants warm up with a dance before walking, Wendell stated, “We have traveled a long way and yet we still have so far to go. This walk represents the journey we’ve taken, the strides we’ve made, and the steps we still need to take.”

It’s with this thought that the starting ribbon was cut and around 500 individuals stepped forward in a wave of purple showing all of Tucson and all of Arizona that they care.  They care about those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.  They remember those who have been lost over the years.  They want to see greater HIV prevention and care in the community.  They know that it takes a community and that the work SAAF does everyday matters.

Thanks to the hundreds of participants, volunteers, and sponsors, AIDSWALK Tucson generated around $130,000 dollars to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thank you for being a part of this transformational journey!

News and Events

  • SAAF Welcomes Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah as its New Chief Executive Officer, September 30, 2020

    The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, excitedly, welcomes Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah as its new Chief Executive Officer. He is scheduled to begin his new role as CEO on Monday, September 28, 2020. Dr. Ravi comes to SAAF after serving as Medical Director of Alvernon Family Medicine and the UA Mobile Health Program, which provides free medical […]

    Learn More
  • SAAF’s Next CEO, June 25, 2020

    The SAAF Board of Directors is pleased to share with you that Dr. Ravi Grivois-Shah has been selected and hired to be the next Chief Executive Officer for SAAF.

    Learn More
  • Save Lives By Supporting Virtual AIDSWALK Tucson 2020, October 2, 2020

    By Rachel McMenamin, Grants Coordinator at the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation As most things look different during this pandemic, so will the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation’s annual AIDSWALK Tucson. For the safety of walkers, volunteers, clients, staff and our community, this year’s AIDSWALK has gone virtual. SAAF will host a week long AIDSWALK celebration from […]

    Learn More
  • SAAF WINS BBB Torch Award in Nonprofit Ethics, May 14, 2019

    We are honored to be the recipient of the BBB Serving Southern Arizona’s Torch Award for Nonprofit Ethics! As a nonprofit and more specifically as an AIDS service organization and an LGBTQ+ serving organization, we hold ourselves accountable to our stakeholders: our clients, our donors, the taxpayers, our staff and volunteers, our community partners, our funders, and […]

    Learn More
  • Share the Love with SAAF’s Home-Bound Clients, December 26, 2018

    Did you know that 92% of SAAF’s Food Program participants have extremely low and very low incomes and rely on our programs not just to avoid hunger, but to receive appropriate, nutrient-dense foods necessary to maintain their health and prevent HIV disease symptoms and medication side effects? Individuals living with HIV and their families face […]

    Learn More
The mission of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation is to cultivate a healthy and stigma-free society through transformative action.