FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steven Henke
PALM SPRINGS, CA- September 13, 2019 – Desert AIDS Project (DAP) (desertaidsproject.org) has announced the 32nd Annual Desert AIDS Walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 19, 2019. The walk will kick-off at Ruth Hardy Park, where over 2,000 humanitarian hearts will unite to walk for the future of health care and remember those friends and family members who we lost because of AIDS. Registration is now available online at www.desertaidswalk.org.
Every walker makes an impact with their fundraising to help expand DAP’s HIV testing and comprehensive, compassionate care for nearly 6,500 Coachella Valley neighbors and friends. You can make it all happen, and it starts with Desert AIDS Walk. The event is family and pet friendly with water stations along the route.
This year’s walk theme is “Walk a Day in Our Shoes.” Participants will walk a 3.5-mile round-trip walk through downtown Palm Springs. The annual event is notable for the diversity of community members who come together each year to support DAP and the community partners who also benefit from the walk.
Desert AIDS Project’s Chief Development Officer, Darrell Tucci, on this year’s walk: “Desert AIDS Project has a long history as a leader in community healthcare and is unique in its approach to providing comprehensive services to underserved communities. We are, at our core, a non-profit health care center, specializing in HIV and infectious disease, supported in large part by the communities we serve.”
When the Walk kicks off at 9 a.m. it will be led by six-time Emmy Award-winning TV journalist, Hank Plante who was featured in the documentary “5B” about the first AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital. He will be joined by health care providers from Desert AIDS Project and Desert Regional Medical Center. For those who haven’t seen the film, The Desert Sun is teaming up with NBC Palm Springs and Desert AIDS Project to host a special screening of the documentary at 7 p.m. on October 11 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. “5B” tells the true story of the group of nurses and caregivers who opened the world’s first AIDS ward at San Francisco General Hospital and changed the way patients were cared for during the 1980s AIDS epidemic. Hank Plante, will participate in a Q&A after the screening with DAP’s Dr. Shubha Kerkar. The event is free and open to the public, with suggested contributions supporting the scholarship fund of the local chapter of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care (ANAC). Reserve your free tickets online at tickets.desertsun.com starting September 22.
Desert AIDS Walk registration begins at 7 a.m and walkers are encouraged to come early to explore the Health and Wellness Festival presented by Walgreens featuring 50 different booths, complimentary coffee and pastries courtesy of Koffi Palm Springs, a rock climbing wall, and a DJ who will be playing high energy music before the walk begins. At the end of the walk, participants can enjoy complimentary snacks provided by Sysco Riverside or food from Haus of Poke Food on Wheels and Hey Day Burger pop-up. Both will donate a percentage of sales to DAP. Kid’s Activity Zone. Live entertainment will continue until 1 p.m.
Desert AIDS Walk is presented by Desert Care Network in support of Desert AIDS Project. Hosting the mainstage for the third year in a row will be Bryan Gallo and Thalia Hayden from NBC Palm Springs. They will be joined by Sandie Newton, the host of Your Health Today. DAP’s, -CEO David Brinkman and Chief Development Officer Darrell Tucci will speak about how funds from the walk will be used at Desert AIDS Project and why your support is essential to the mission of DAP. Tucci will introduce local political leaders who will welcome walkers.
2019 Desert AIDS Walk Registration: desertaidswalk.org
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
7:00 AM – Walk Registration opens
8:00 AM – Stage Presentation
8:40 AM – Yoga Warm Up
8:50 AM – Moment of Silence
9:00 AM — Walk kick Off
10:30 AM – Walkers Return to Park – Complimentary Lunch sponsored by Sysco Riverside- Live entertainment and food trucks.
Desert AIDS Walk funds the work of Desert AIDS project:
- Medical Care – Almost 6,500 clients call DAP their patient-centered medical home, and about half do not have HIV. In the earliest days of the AIDS crisis, DAP discovered health outcomes for our HIV positive clients increased when we provided healthcare to their life partners and family members who were acting as caregivers. Today, DAP offers leading HIV specialty care as well as primary care for our community members not living with HIV. Because there is enough love in this valley to help everyone thrive and also prevent new cases of HIV.
- Transgender Care – DAP is guiding more and more transgender, intersex, and gender diverse clients on their gender journeys. In a little over a year, DAP has seen its client enrollment quadruple for these services. Too many transgender individuals in the Inland Empire assume they won’t ever access stigma-free and competent care. At DAP they never have to worry.
- Hepatitis Center of Excellence – 202 clients have been cured of Hepatitis C since 2017. DAP averages 9 weeks to cure clients, and never turns people away if they do not have insurance. HCV is a silent killer, but DAP’s advocacy is a lot louder.
- Dental Care – Dental access is vital for good health, especially for people living with HIV. DAP’s dental clinic had 5,188 visits last year and continues to add clients. A healthy mouth helps clients stay ahead of HIV, and everyone smile wider.
- The DOCK – $25 STI screening and treatment. Confidential HIV and HCV testing. PrEP and PEP navigators to onboard new clients and help access cost assistance. Because we won’t stop the spread of HIV and STIs in the Coachella Valley if we don’t make testing and treatment available to everyone.
- Behavioral HealthCare – Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists. Coping with HIV and life can be overwhelming. DAP Behavioral Health clinicians help clients find hope. Because with the right support, we can get through almost any storm.
- Social Services –Case managers make accessing healthcare and support services a reality for DAP clients. Transportation, food, housing, and enrolling for federal, state and local resources to cover care. In a complex healthcare system, DAP takes the worry out of obtaining and keeping care.
- Housing – DAP helps clients into permanent residences and is developing more opportunities. Housing assistance is part of our prescription. Because access to medication is not enough to treat HIV—it also requires a place to live.
- Back to Work—DAP’s back to work program has assisted over 200 clients re-enter the workforce when they were ready. This includes computer access, resume coaching, and placement. DAP helps clients determine readiness for employment and supports them throughout the process. Because having a job can be powerful medicine.
- Client Wellness—A range of services, classes and support groups make DAP a community hub. Chair massage, yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and reiki. Because the AIDS crisis taught us that holistic health works. Strength training, art, sculpting and sewing classes. Because curiosity is healthy. Aging with HIV, addiction and recovery advocacy, and many other support groups. Because DAP understands that when a few people get together to support each other, an entire humanitarian movement can be born.
2019 Desert AIDS Walk Sponsors
Desert AIDS Walk Presenting Sponsor: Desert Care Network
Health & Wellness Festival Presenting Sponsor: Walgreens
Major sponsors: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Desert Oasis Healthcare, Gilead, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation, Koffi, NBC Palm Springs, Sysco-Riverside, and The Desert Sun
Other Sponsors: Alpha Media, Bolour Immigration Group, Barkingham Pet Hotel, CV Independent, Forest Lawn, Gay Desert Guide, GED Magazine, NBC Your Health Today, Palm Springs Disposal Services, Palm Tree Clinical Research, Promo Homo TV, Rage Monthly, Revivals Stores, Sempra, Supercuts Palm Springs
About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (DAP) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering DAP Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. DAP’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. DAP’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. DAP has earned a “Four Star” rating from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year – landing DAP in the top 6% of nonprofits rated. The distinction recognizes that we exceed industry standards in terms of our financial health, accountability, and transparency. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.