The director of the Indiana AIDS Fund, Stephen Everett, thanked attendees of this year's Indiana AIDS Walk & Ride during a short awards ceremony between musical selections from the stage. "Thanks to the generosity of individuals, teams and sponsors, the total for today's Indiana AIDS Walk & Ride is $155,900," said Everett. "This will allow DEFA to help as many people as possible, thank you very, very much."
Rain and clouds gave way to sunshine and pleasant temperatures setting
the stage for the perfect day as The Indiana AIDS Fund hosted the 19th
Annual Indiana AIDS Walk & Ride at University Park, adjacent to the
Indiana War Memorial on Meridian and Vermont Streets. The event drew
more than 1,200 participants who mobilized to meet the emergency needs
of the more than 10,000 persons living in Indiana who live with
HIV/AIDS. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, First Lady Winnie Ballard,
Marion County Health Department Director Virginia Caine, M.D., event
co-chairs Reverend Judith Carson and Stephanie Koning, and other
dignitaries joined in the festivities to support Hoosiers living with
HIV/AIDS who find themselves in need of emergency help.
Individual participants and teams solicited pledges from family,
friends, co-workers, employers and others to benefit the Gregory R.
Powers Direct Emergency Financial Assistance (DEFA) program that
provides needed assistance to HIV/AIDS patients in emergency
situations through HIV/AIDS service agencies across the state
providing hands on care assistance.
This 5K walk and 10K bicycle fun ride drew participants from all over
the state including college (and college related) teams (Purdue,
Butler, Earlham, IUPUI, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity), corporate teams
(Lilly, St. Vincent's), to faith based (The Church Within, All Saint's
Episcopal Church), and memorial teams (Terry's Troopers , Team
Gregs--honoring Powers who the DEFA program is named for).
Participants were sent off and greeted upon return by the exuberant
cheering of Indianapolis Public Schools' Washington Community School
Cheerleaders. The fabulous day centered around family-friendliness,
healthy activities, food, fun and live entertainment for the public
organized and executed by a full team of dedicated volunteers who came
together from all walks of life for one cause.
With the uncertainty of the economy and the average of infection rates
for HIV in Indiana (in 2008, there was on average a newly diagnosed
case per day according to Indiana State Department of Health
statistics), organizers asked the public to continue to log on and
give. Donors can log on to www.indianaAIDSwalk.org to make
Examples of DEFA in ACTION.
A pregnant client of mine was assaulted by her boyfriend and went into early labor. Her baby was born weighing only about 2 lbs. When I took her home from the hospital, I realized that she had no furniture in her apartment. She had asked me for a few things for the baby and some kitchen items, but until I went to her house, I did not realize how bare it was. She had nothing in her living room or dining room--only a blow-up mattress, a TV, and a small crib in her bedroom. She reported that she had been trying to buy things a little at a time. My client had been working full-time but due to frequent doctor's appointments and complications with the baby, she had missed a lot of work. So, her bills were piling up and she did not know where to turn. Thanks to HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS), we were able to help with her rent and utility bills. We also had someone donate a bed and some kitchen items. With help from DEFA, we bought her a couch and a chair. Thanks to DEFA and the donations received, my client had a place to sit and hold her baby when he was finally big enough to come home from the hospital. There are always a lot of extra things that clients need that go beyond what most funding can pay for. That is what makes DEFA so important. We are able to help exactly where we are needed. --an HIV/AIDS Care-Staff Member
Several of my clients have had a problem paying for their monthly spend-down with Medicaid. Many times the amount is unrealistic and unaffordable. One particular client of mine takes about 20 pills every day for various health problems. Without assistance from DEFA, my client would have gone without meds many times while trying to cancel his Medicaid and (while) waiting to get onto another insurance program. His meds are important and they greatly impact his daily life. DEFA is the only program that allowed us to help this client. -an HIV/AIDS Care-Staff Member
The presenting sponsor of the 2009 Indiana AIDS Walk & Ride is the
Marion County Health Department that continues to serve the community
by "Making A Difference". Other key sponsors include Walgreens "The
Pharmacy America Trusts", St. Vincent Hospitals, Eastern Star Church,
Circle City HIV/AIDS Coalition, Bio Scrip Pharmacy and Bloomington
Hospital Positive Link. Media sponsors include the Indianapolis
stations of Radio One (WTLC-AM, WTLC-FM, WHHH-FM, WNOU-FM, IMC-TV),
NUVO Newsweekly and The WORD.
The Indiana AIDS Fund is a private, philanthropic fund-raising and
grant-making organization dedicated to supporting HIV/AIDS prevention
and service programs in Indiana. Since our inception in 1994, the
Indiana AIDS Fund has become the largest private funder of HIV/AIDS
programs in Indiana as well as a recognized authority on HIV/AIDS
issues www.indianaaidsfund.org .