2021 Desert AIDS Walk sets new record

A record $400,786 was raised during the recently-completed Desert AIDS Walk, organizers announced today. The previous record was $350,000, which was the event’s goal for this year.

The event returned for its first in-person event since before the pandemic. All the funds go to support DAP Health and the vital services it provides the community.

“The community came together again and blew our previous record out of the water,” says Darrell L. Tucci, Chief Development & Strategy Officer at DAP Health. “To see the community come together at the very beginning of the program for the first time in 20 months was deeply moving. I had tears streaming down my face. It was really beautiful to see.”

It was DAP Health’s first in-person event since the 2019 Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards. The 2020 Desert AIDS Walk went virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tucci said it’s a testament to the community, as well as the DAP Health teams – marketing, development and volunteer coordinators, who were “the backbone on the staff side leading the event.” With the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemics being felt economically in communities across the country, Tucci said he wasn’t sure how fundraising for the walk would turn out.

This year’s event had 594 registered walkers, 71 teams and 1,836 donors. The average gift was $112.94.

The top fundraiser this year was DAP Health Board Chair Patrick Jordan, who raised $15,100 to lead individual fundraisers and his PS Properties team raised $41,710 to lead all teams.

“My passion is making sure that people in our community lead healthy lives. So whether that’s somebody living and managing themselves with HIV, whether that’s somebody that needs behavioral health counseling, whether that’s somebody that needs food assistance, whatever it might be,” Jordan said. “I think we all have a responsibility in my eyes to care of humankind and take care of one another. And so that is what drives my passion.”

Jordan also points out that telling donors that 100 percent of the funds they raised would go directly to DAP Health programs was an incentive as the event was underwritten by the sponsors. Tucci points out that the sponsors, such as Desert Care Network and Walgreen’s, helped generate over $100,000 this year, also a record.

Revivals stores has been donating 100% of their profits to DAP Health each year since it first opened in 1994. Director of Retail, Dane Koch joined leaders from each of the four Revivals stores for a special check presentation before the walk. “Our team of volunteers and employees came together this year to make an impact.  Over 6,500 customers donated an average of three dollars as they were checking out of our stores.  The collective impact of their generosity resulted in $20,000 raised at our stores for this year’s walk. To me, it’s a great reminder that every person’s effort matters when we come together with a shared purpose.”

The annual Desert AIDS Walk helps fund the vital work of DAP Health, previously Desert AIDS Project, an advocacy-based health care organization that provides service to more than 10,000 individuals.

“The fight to end HIV and address health inequities is far from over and we are in this together,” said C.J. Tobe, the Director of Community Health and Sexual Wellness. “The funds raised through the Desert AIDS Walk this year is a major win for the community.”

This year marks 40 years of HIV with the first reported cases about what would become known as HIV and AIDS published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

DAP Health CEO and President David Brinkman says, “AIDS taught us a community response is the most effective response. It taught us that we cannot turn our backs when communities are in need and in fear, that we must remember our humanity and the gift of giving back and be there to help. And as we have learned through our recent human rights and health equity movements, equality cannot be experienced by one until it is experienced by all.”

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