On December 1st, people throughout the world observe World AIDS Day, an opportunity for the global community to honor those living with HIV; the families, friends, caregivers, and communities who support them; and those who have lost their lives to AIDS. Worldwide, nearly 35 million people have died from AIDS since 1981, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. To honor those lost to the disease, Aunt Rita’s Foundation and COX Media bring in 15 sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt developed by the NAMES Project Foundation. The display consists of 8 panels in each section, 3’x6’ in size and they represent a minimum of 120 lives honored by the panels, as some panels have a group of names, many who are from Arizona.
This year there are two quilt panels there are near and dear to Aunt Rita’s heart. They represent men who had a significant impact on the community during the AIDS pandemic in the late 1980’s. Randy Schrock, one of three men who co-founded the original Aunt Rita’s Foundation and Randy Gorbette, co-founder of Phoenix Shanti Group. These men were trailblazers and worked hard to not only create awareness of HIV/AIDS, yet more importantly, to take care of those who were infected with the disease and dying.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt Panels display for public to view at no charge on December 1st from 7am-9pm, December 2nd from 9am-6am and December 3rd from 9am-7pm at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, 1101 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix. For those who would like to make a panel to add to the national quilt, Aunt Rita’s Foundation will be taking panels until January 12, 2016 and has instructions on how to construct them.
Free HIV testing will be available near the light rail at various locations on December 1st from 4pm-7pm at select Walgreens: 1825 W. Bethany Home and Central and Osborn both in Phoenix and 2024 W. Main St., Mesa as well as Southwest Center for HIV 1101 N. Central Ave. Phoenix and Don Cassano Community Room 200 E. Fifth St., 2nd floor, Tempe.
The evening of December 1st is the Phoenix AIDS Candlelight Vigil from 6pm-8pm at the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center, 801 N 2nd Ave, Phoenix. Participants will hear from Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and First Lady Nicole Stanton, whose brother died of AIDS, and others. The vigil walk ends at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness 1101 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix.
Don't miss our RED Brunch on December 5th from 10am-2pm at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, 6902 E Greenway Pkwy, Scottsdale. This year we have a fun program where we will share the Past, Present and Future of Aunt Rita's Foundation. A program not to be missed! Tickets are $100.00 per person and attendees can view the AIDS Memorial Quilt Panels, along with a silent auction and enjoy special RED drinks prepared by our friends at Belvedere Vodka. We would like to thank our generous sponsors: Our Title Sponsor, Theranos, Presenting Sponsors Cox Media and Wells Fargo, Red Ribbon Sponsors Belvedere Vodka, Southwest Airlines and Echo Magazine. Thanks to our Event Sponsors Avella Pharmacy, Alliance Bank of Arizona, Hensley Beverage Company and Youngs Market Company.