Contact: Kristin Wollenberg, Media and Communications Manager, 414-225-1641 (o) [email protected], 262-271-2037 (c)

MILWAUKEE… Participants from across Wisconsin ran, walked and volunteered today at the Summerfest Grounds in Milwaukee to come together to raise $406,082 to support HIV prevention, care and treatment programs throughout the state at the 28th AIDS Walk Wisconsin and 5K Run. Supporters were joined by award-winning actress, singer and comedian, Jane Lynch, who served as the event’s Honorary Chair.

“As long as a cure for AIDS remains unfound, as long as our brothers and sisters continue suffer, we will walk!” Lynch exclaimed during her address of the crowd. Jane ended her speech with a personal pledge of a $20,000 donation to AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run 2017.

Introducing Lynch was ARCW Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Dan Mueller, who reminded attendees of their value to the fight against AIDS, “As your chief fund raising officer, I know you have been receiving all sorts of messages from us in the months leading up to this special day. Today, however, I only want to share one message with you – how valuable you are to us and to the fight against AIDS.

Mueller continued, “You folks are part of a community of 128,000 people who have registered for this event over the past 28 years. Today we hope this event will be the Walk that puts us over the $13 million mark in cumulative funds raised, one hundred percent of which have stayed in Wisconsin for the fight against AIDS here and will continue to stay here in the Walks to come.”

AIDS Walk Wisconsin recognized individual walkers and runners, and also awarded three unique team competitions that challenged groups to raise funds for HIV services.

The winner of the Raising the Bar Challenge is The Strongest Link II, with Taylor’s Milwaukee bar, raising $7,522. The Raising the Bar Challenge is a friendly competition among bars and night clubs across the state.

The team from Northwestern Mutual won this year’s winner of the annual corporate challenge, with a fundraising total of $8,505. The challenge, sponsored by the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is designed to LGBT professionals and their allies in the fight against AIDS. Together, the teams in this challenge raised $23,303.

The top individual fundraiser this year is Michael Bersch from Lake Havasu, AZ who raised $21,200. A Wisconsin native, Bersch, who has participated in this event for 11 years, received the 2017 Philanthropy award from ARCW at the annual Make A Promise gala in April. Having raised a cumulative $129,800 no other AIDS Walk Wisconsin & 5K Run registrant has ever raised as much money for this event.

Winners of the 5K run were Josh Bodnar, 22 (men) at 18:08 and Madeline Timm, 23 at 22:46 (women).

This year’s event tied a 2014 record for revenue from corporate sponsorship, including funds from Presenting Sponsor MillerCoors, Premier Sponsor the Brewers Community Foundation; Major Sponsors Gilead Sciences, the ARCW Pharmacy, and SC Johnson Family Company; Champion Sponsors Direct Supply, LacCorp, Associated Bank, Abbott, and the Wisconsin
LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Today, it is estimated that 8,000 people are living with HIV in Wisconsin, with almost 1,500 unaware of their status. Recent studies have estimated that as many as one in five people living with HIV are unaware of their HIV status.

Over the past 28 years, more than 128,000 registrants have participated in AIDS Walk Wisconsin and raised more than $13 million. One hundred percent of the pledges raised from AIDS Walk Wisconsin have stayed in Wisconsin to benefit people living with HIV in the state.

AIDS Walk Wisconsin is produced by the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW). ARCW is home to the ARCW Medical Center – Wisconsin’s largest and fastest growing HIV health care system. Through its integrated medical, dental and mental health clinics along with its pharmacy and dedicated social services that include food pantries, a legal program, housing support and social work case management, over 3,600 HIV patients in Wisconsin gain the health care and social services they need for long-term survival with HIV disease from ARCW.

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