Under what are predicted to be sunny skies, Whitman-Walker Clinic will hold its 19th annual AIDS Walk fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 1, kicking off from Freedom Plaza. Kim Mills, the clinic's communications director, says a highlight of this year's event will be first-time Grand Marshal Virginia Ali. ''She's very excited,'' Mills says of Ali, co-founder of landmark Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street NW. ''Her son has been a friend of the clinic and has a pretty strong awareness of HIV, particularly in the African-American community. … She came by the clinic a couple weeks ago for the first time to say hello to everyone, and is really excited about becoming more involved.''
Mills adds that while registration has been slightly less than she was hoping -- in the neighborhood of 3,000 registrants by Tuesday, Sept. 27 -- she's confidant that many will show up for the day of the event. For those who make a last minute commitment, registration is open in the lobby of the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW, the morning of the walk. Also as of Tuesday, Mills says the clinic has received more than $250,000 in AIDS Walk pledges.
''The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Washington is worse than any other city at this point, with one in 20 of the adults in D.C. carrying the virus. We have a serious problem,'' says Mills. ''So come down, walk, pledge or just show your support. Help the clinic anyway you can. It will be a great day.''
For more information, visit www.aidswalkwashington.org