AIDSWALK Tucson feels the love

click to enlarge AIDSWALK Tucson feels the love
(Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation/Submitted)
AIDSWALK Tucson participants are welcome to bring their dogs.

Monique Vallery of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation is proud of the community’s support.

Last year, the organization raised approximately $80,000 with 200 participants and volunteers participating in its AIDSWALK Tucson.

“This year is going to be the 34th annual AIDSWALK. It’s now one of the oldest walks in Tucson,” said Vallery, SAAF’s director of development.

“We are so proud of the support that we have from the community. And the fact that we are able to keep walking, 34 years later, and we’re still walking, and we will continue to walk.”

This year’s AIDSWALK is 7 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at Jacome Plaza Park at 101 N. Stone Avenue. It is a highlight of the last day of Tucson Meet Yourself, which runs from Friday, Oct. 7, to Sunday, Oct. 9.

“For the three days of Tucson Meet Yourself festival, we get to be doing outreach and education as part of the festival,” she said.

“That is so important to help continue to educate and connect with the community that’s attending TMY and for TMY to give us such a platform to recognize true community partnership, it’s crucial.”

This is the ninth year SAAF is partnering with TMY.

“To hold space with TMY, for me it is just phenomenal,” Vallery said. “For our agency to again, really get to outreach, educate…we will have our 25 local AIDS memorial panels on display all that weekend.”

The first AIDSWALK was in 1988 and has been running annually.

“We have never missed a walk, even if we had to do a virtual type of walk,” she said, referencing the 2020 event.

“We still honored that day, and we did a drive thru AIDSWALK at the height of the pandemic. It was different, but we still did it. And we are proud of that.”

AIDSWALK is a family- and pet-friendly walking (or running) fundraiser scheduled to increase awareness and support for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Registration is open via its website, Participants can also sign up starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9; a fun run follows at 7:30 a.m., with the opening ceremony at 8 a.m. The walk/run starts at 9 a.m. and the Reading of the Names Quilt Ceremony is at 10 a.m.

Quilt panels from the Tucson AIDS Quilt and the National Names Project Foundation will be on display.

Vallery said SAAF’s goal this year is to raise $100,000 for the AIDSWALK.

“And all of the money that we raise stays here,” she said. “Locally, for our programs and support and services; and we are really proud of that. So, the money we raise is going right back into our community here.”

After the AIDSWALK, Vallery said High Wire at 14 S. Arizona Avenue, is hosting a brunch. Desert Diamond Casinos is the title sponsor.

“We are so proud to be partnering again with our title sponsor Desert Diamond Casinos,” Vallery said. “They have been such a longtime supporter of AIDSWALK, for decades.”

SAAF’s mission is to promote health, well-being and social justice for those living with HIV, LGBTQ+ individuals and communities marginalized by society. Recently, it launched its telehealth program and will soon open the doors to its free brick-and-mortar health clinic.


WHEN: 7 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9

WHERE: Jacome Plaza Park, 101 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson

COST: Donations


Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation

375 S. Euclid Avenue, Tucson


8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

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