Thousands gather for remembrance, fundraising and awareness at annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago

Sun. October 2, 2016 9:45 AM by News Staff

photo credit // anthony meade
Chicago, IL - Thousands of runners, walkers, volunteers didn't let the rain dampen their spirits as they gathered in support of people living with HIV/AIDS as part of the 15th annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago on Saturday.

The annual event, one of the city's high-profile fundraisers to combat HIV/AIDS, took participants on a 10K run and 5K run and walk along Chicago's lakeshore, starting and finishing at at Soldier Field.

Inspired by the kaleidoscopic effect of last year's athletes donning COLORbands (elastic bands that can be worn by participants in a number of ways), this year's run and walk center around the estimated 2,500 participants banding together to end new HIV infections and support those living with HIV and other chronic illnesses.

WGN-TV's Dean Richards served as the master of ceremonies for the Saturday morning's festivities, which will include a brief speech by AIDS Foundation of Chicago President and CEO John Peller.

The opening ceremony also included performances by the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and LGBT entertainer Honey West.

After the race, runners and walkers viewed the stoic AIDS Memorial Quilt panels on display, and many in attendance participated in free HIV screening.

Funds raised through AIDS Run & Walk Chicago will benefit programs and services for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and 35 other metropolitan organizations that provide life-saving services to people living with HIV and AIDS. Since it was established in 2001, AIDS Run & Walk Chicago has netted nearly $5 million to battle the epidemic.

Donations to AIDS Run & Walk Chicago will be accepted through the end of the year. To donate or learn more, visit or call 312-334-0946.

Related: Photos from the 2016 AIDS Run & Walk Chicago