By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Over three thousand walkers raised at least $194,000 over the weekend during the seven annual walks that make up AIDS Walk Michigan.
Barbara Murray, executive director of AIDS Partnership Michigan and president of the board of AIDS Walk Michigan, said the figure was a preliminary report and that money was still coming in as of press time.
In addition, “We had four walks on Saturday and three on Sunday,” Murray said, and “while I didn’t ask everybody for a weather report, I think that all of the Saturday walks got rain. I think we’re going to get more money hand delivered or online from people who may have bailed out because of the rain.”
Prior to the Detroit walk on Belle Isle, Detroit’s Cass Technical High School Marching Band played classic R&B standards. As walkers lined up to make the trek around the island, Murray gave the crowd a moving pep talk.
The walks send a powerful message, to those who do and do not take part, said Michael Matigan, director of development at AIDS Partnership Michigan.
“We do all these walks to wake up two groups of people,” Matigan said. “We wake up the people who are walking to the real purpose in their heart with what they’re doing and, we wake up the people who are not walking to what they ought to be doing.”
In addition to fundraisers, Murray said she also received several calls before the Walk from people who couldn’t raise money but wanted to show their support by joining in the Walk.
“This Walk is also about advocacy. About being part of making a statement. So that part really pleases me too,” Murray said.
Imani Williams contributed to this report.
How to help
AIDS Walk Michigan won’t close the books for the year for at least three weeks, so there’s plenty of time left to donate. For more information visit http://www.aidswalkmichigan.org.