It’s not too late to join the crowd and sign up for the 16th Annual Heart & Sole AIDS walk, scheduled for this Saturday morning.
With an expected turnout of 500 participants, the 10-kilometer walk, about 6.2 miles, will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Leadbetter Beach, and will finish around noon with a number of speeches and a beachside concert, among other activities. Hosted by the Pacific Pride Foundation, proceeds from the event will go toward HIV/AIDS education, prevention and services in Santa Barbara County.
“HIV and AIDS are a huge problem in the U.S.,” said Jodi Segal, Pacific Pride Foundation director of development. “It’s estimated that there are 2,500 people living with HIV in Santa Barbara County. This is a disease that can be completely prevented by raising awareness.”
The top fundraisers at the walk will each receive two round-trip airline tickets, and the “most inspirational walkers” will also receive prizes, Segal said.
Segal said people may still sign up for the walk as long as they turn in the money they raised from sponsors by 9 a.m. at the registration booth at Leadbetter Beach. More information can be found at www.pacificpridefoundation.org.
Segal said volunteers are still needed, and UCSB students are welcome to join in the effort.
“Volunteers can just show up, and we’ll put you to work,” Segal said.
Serving over 500 individuals with HIV/AIDS, the Pacific Pride Foundation provides a variety of services.
“We have nurses, therapists, caseworkers who can help you with paper work … we have massage therapy – we even have food pantries,” Segal said.
Last year, $130,000 was donated to the Pacific Pride Foundation over the course of the year, Segal said, and the foundation hopes to raise even more this year.