As the AIDS walk comes to Madison for the first time, thousands will get off the couch in support of AIDS and HIV research.

Madison’s AIDS walk, “The Power of One Day,” will take place Saturday and is predicted to draw thousands.

The 10K AIDS walk will make its debut in Madison this weekend, supplementing its annual Milwaukee event with an additional fundraising event here.

Both walks are scheduled for Saturday afternoon and are expected to raise $750,000, collectively. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the American Red Cross to help the nation recover from its recent tragedy.

Stuart Kipnis, development coordinator for the Madison AIDS network, expects the Madison branch of the walk to accumulate over $100,000, but he said that number is merely an estimate.

“It’s the first AIDS walk ever in Madison, so we’re not sure what to expect,” Kipnis said. “We need people to come out and show support for Madison’s AIDS and HIV community and help raise money for case management as well as prevention. Even with improving medical care, AIDS and HIV are still significant problems.”

Organizers expect 2,000 people to participate in the walk Saturday, which will commence at noon. Already 1,700 people have signed up. Anyone can register Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. at Brittingham Park, which is between Monona Bay and West Washington Avenue.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said AIDS and HIV awareness needs to remain a public issue.

“The rates of infection continue to rise, and it affects people of all walks of life,” Verveer said. “It certainly affects people in our own backyard.”

Verveer predicted an outpouring of student support.

“I’m looking forward to it, and I’m sure a lot of students are looking forward to help supporting a good cause, to helping support those living with AIDS or HIV,” he said.

UW-Madison sophomore Kat Bos, community service coordinator for Cole, Bradley and Sullivan residence halls, said UW is providing transportation from the Lakeshore dorms to the walk site. For those wanting to participate in the walk as well as attend the football game against Western Kentucky, a bus will shuttle from Brittingham Park to Camp Randall. The bus will leave for the game at 1:30 p.m.

Opening ceremonies take place at 11:30 a.m.; master of ceremonies will be NBC 15 news anchor Mike McKinney, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., will address participants during the opening ceremonies. The opening ceremonies will also include live music and refreshments.

The walk route, which originally included areas around campus and the Capitol, was redrawn because of the Badger football game rescheduled for Saturday.
The walk will commence in Brittingham Park and continue south toward the Alliant Energy Center. From there it will proceed along John Nolen Drive back to Brittingham Park, where closing ceremonies will take place around 2:30 p.m.

The AIDS walk is being sponsored by Fox-6 of Milwaukee, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, St. Mary's Hospital, 105.5 FM and United Airlines, among others.
Agencies that will benefit from the walk's proceeds will include AIDS/HIV research and management organizations, such as the Wisconsin AIDS Research Consortium, the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and the YWCA-Rainbow Alliance for Youth of Wisconsin.