Lone Star Ride distributes $150K to 3 AIDS services organizations during party at Salum

Allan Gould, Don Maison and Cece Cox
Allan Gould, Don Maison and Cece Cox accept a check from the Lone Star Ride. To see more photos from the wrap party on Sunday at Salum, go here.

On Sunday, Oct. 24, Lone Star Ride distributed $150,000 to AIDS Services of Dallas, the AIDS Outreach Center and Resource Center Dallas. AOC Executive Director Allan Gould, ASD President and CEO Don Maison and RCD Executive Director Cece Cox were on hand to accept the check.

At the party at Salum on Travis Street, Michael Veale was given an award for bringing in the most new donors.

Ralph Randall was the single biggest fundraiser. He attributed his success in collecting money to relentless behavior.

“You can’t be timid and raise money,” he said.

He didn’t allow the down economy to dissuade him from asking.

“This disease doesn’t have an economic cycle,” he said. “Always ask. All they can say is no. Don’t give up.”

He raised twice as much this year as he did last year. He said he did the ride in honor of a friend of his with HIV and he gave his plaque to him.

“I do a lot of these rides, ” said rider Allan Chernoff. “This is the best supported ride in Texas.”

“Absolutely!” said Eric Markinson about riding again next year. He is part of Team Blazing Saddles.

“I’m very proud of Team Dallas Voice,” said rider and Dallas Voice Publisher Robert Moore. “They worked very hard. They put the beneficiaries in sight on the road ahead.”

Team Dallas Voice raised more money than any other team in the history of the Lone Star Ride. The total topped $50,000 this year.

Shelly Morrow was a first-year rider from Glen Rose who is planning to participate again next year.

“The closing ceremonies really got to me,” she said.

The closing ceremonies held at base camp at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center near DFW Airport included a performance by the Turtle Creek Chorale and wheeling in the riderless bike. That bike symbolized all the people lost to AIDS. They retired the number of a rider who passed away since the previous ride.

“And next year, I’ll try not to take out anyone, especially a writer,” Morrow said.

Morrow and I collided about 18 miles into the ride. My back brakes failed as we were checking directions on the route. I went over my handlebars onto the street. Although we had been riding together for several miles, she didn’t realize that I wrote for Dallas Voice until she saw my write-up on this blog.

To see more photos from Sunday’s wrap party, go here.

—  David Taffet

Organizers set goal of $500,000 for 20th annual LifeWalk

Organizers hoping for more than 10,000 walkers to gather in Lee Park to raise money for 10 AIDS service organizations in Dallas

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY LIFEWALK  |  AIDS Arms recently held a reception at ilume Galleries honoring past and present chairs of the agency’s annual LifeWalk funraiser as part of the buildup to the 20th annual LifeWalk taking place Sunday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m. in Lee Park. During the event, an unnamed benefactor donated $5,000 to LifeWalk in honor of the past co-chairs. The event also featured eight local artists who had work on display in the gallery.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY LIFEWALK | AIDS Arms recently held a reception at ilume Galleries honoring past and present chairs of the agency’s annual LifeWalk funraiser as part of the buildup to the 20th annual LifeWalk taking place Sunday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m. in Lee Park. During the event, an unnamed benefactor donated $5,000 to LifeWalk in honor of the past co-chairs. The event also featured eight local artists who had work on display in the gallery.

About 62 new teams have registered to participate in the 20th annual LifeWalk on Sunday, Oct. 10, according to AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles.

“That’s the most new teams in one year that we have ever had,” Nobles said. “We have all our established teams coming back, plus the 62 new teams. That’s a little more than 200 teams total that will be walking.”

And that’s not counting the people who haven’t registered yet and will be walking as individuals instead of with a team.

“A lot of people never join a team. They just show up on Sunday, register on their own and walk. And those individuals usually bring someone with them — a partner or other family member or a friend or a pet. We never know until the day of the walk how many people will be participating,” Nobles said.

She said nearly 10,000 people participated in the 2009 LifeWalk, “and we assume we will meet that number again this year, if not exceed it. We hope we will exceed it, of course.”

The fundraising goal for the 20th LifeWalk is set at $500,000, which will be divided between AIDS Arms, which presents the event, and the 10 other beneficiaries.

“That’s huge, we know. Year before last, we raised $430,000, and last year we just about hit $400,000. The economic recession hit us hard last year, but we are hoping to really bounce back from that this year.”

The fundraising goal for the walk is based on the needs of the beneficiaries, Nobles said. “We tell the [LifeWalk] steering committee what we need, and the committee approves that as the goal. Then they [committee members] have to go out there and make it happen.”

The recession, Nobles said, has impacted AIDS service organizations in more ways than one. While donors have had to cut back on how much they are able to give, agencies are at the same time seeing more people who need help.

“What’s happening, across the board, is that there are just far too many clients needing help than we have the capacity to help,” Nobles said. “All of us [AIDS service organizations] are just way beyond our capacity. All of us need funding to expand that capacity and serve the fast-growing segment of people who are HIV-positive.”

And the proceeds from LifeWalk are especially helpful because the beneficiary agencies can use those funds however they want.

“Grant money is always extremely restricted money,” Nobles explained. “You can only spend grant money on the specific things that the funder has approved. And most often, those grant dollars don’t pay for the tools we need to do our jobs — things like computers, prevention supplies, testing supplies.

“Grant money usually doesn’t cover the costs of expanded media in new formats, those new ways to use new avenues to reach out with education and prevention efforts,” she continued. “For example, here at AIDS Arms, we love to do our ‘Lunch and Learn’ program. It’s where we invite clients to come in and we feed them, and as they have lunch we educate them on some aspect of living with AIDS. But all that goes by the wayside when there are no unrestricted funds available.”

And that’s why LifeWalk is so important. Because the funds it brings in are completely unrestricted.

Nobles said AIDS Arms officials hope to be able to use LifeWalk funds this year to bring in new equipment for the Peabody Clinic.

“We have a long list of equipment we need to diagnose, track and monitor the health of our clients,” she said.

“This time around, cardiovascular care is a huge need in our HIV patients, and we need equipment to be able to respond to that need in a better way. I don’t think the general public really understands that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 health risk for a lot of HIV patients. That’s particularly true as the patient population ages.

And that makes the management of HIV disease that much more complicated. We have to stay on top of all of it.

You have to treat the whole person.”

Registration for LifeWalk opens at noon on Sunday, and the walk steps off at 1 p.m. Walkers will move up Turtle Creek Boulevard, go through the West Village and then circle through Uptown and back to Lee Park.

There will be activities and entertainment going on throughout the day in the park, including the Buster Brown Band, a DJ playing music, Voice of Pride winner Mel Arizpe, games for the children, food, beverages and more, Nobles said.

Also during the day, in honor of the 20th anniversary, past LifeWalk co-chairs will be recognized from the stage.

“It’s going to be very family friendly, and very dog friendly. There will be several vendors with booths, and there will be a health fair with free HIV testing available on-site all day,” she said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Nobles acknowledged that the reason behind LifeWalk is very serious, and that there are likely to be some sad moments as organizers and participants remember friends and family members who have died.
But the fun side of the event is also important.

“Everyone knows that we do this for very serious reasons, that the epidemic is still killing people and that our dollars are going to help with serious needs,” Nobles said. “But people need to have some relief from that seriousness, too. People get burned out. It’s called ‘compassion fatigue.’ And they need to be able to celebrate life; we need to celebrate the memories of those we have lost and we need to celebrate the lives of those who are living with this disease.

“There are people who have lived with this since the day the epidemic began, and we need to celebrate their lives, their tenacity and their courage,” Nobles said. “And LifeWalk is a great way to do that, because you know that every dollar that comes into LifeWalk goes to programs that directly help clients. Close to 20,000 people depend on the AIDS services organizations in Dallas, and the money from LifeWalk goes to help them. You can make an investment in the future of a lot of people through LifeWalk.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 08, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSR Journal: Because they still need us

ROBERT MOORE  Team Dallas Voice

Robert Moore Team Dallas Voice
ROBERT MOORE Team Dallas Voice

I left the office and went out for lunch today.  Not an uncommon occurrence. I go out almost every day. The biggest challenge I have before I leave the building is deciding where to eat. Dallas is a restaurant town, you know.

Where to eat? How much to spend? How far to travel? How much time do I have in my schedule today? So many decisions to be made just for a simple lunch.

Not today.

Today I had lunch with Jennifer Hurn, the client services manager for Resource Center Dallas, one of the beneficiaries of Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, along with AIDS Services of Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County.

I had called Jennifer and told her I was riding Lone Star Ride this weekend and I wanted to meet some of the clients at the Hot Meals Program, which she oversees. Ultimately, when you are holding out your hand and asking people for money to support a cause, your cause, you want to know and see that the money they hand over to you is doing some good.

The RCD’s Hot Meals Program serves between 100 to 150 clients every weekday. Today’s menu was barbeque chicken, green beans with potatoes, garlic toast, a salad, plus cake for those, like me, that have a sweet tooth.

To be eligible for the meal, a client must be HIV-positive, have an income at or below 300 percent of the poverty level and fall under Ryan White funding.

“We see some people once a week and some every day,” Hurn explains. “The numbers always go up at the end of the month when the social security money starts to run out. Always. We have a total of over 900 clients who are eligible for the meal.

If they all showed up on a single day, I don’t know what we would do.”

Jennifer doesn’t want to face that prospect and I understand her fears. Most of the chairs are taken.

After going down the serving line, we sit down with Edward, a longtime client. Edward lives in Oak Cliff and takes the bus on his daily trip to RCD. The journey takes him an hour-and-a-half to two hours each way.

“I have been coming here for years. I’m an old-timer at this place. Plus I’m 60 years old,” he says, shaking his head with a grin, something of an acknowledgment he didn’t expect to be around this long. He notes that while the trip is onerous because he walks with a back brace and the help of a cane, he looks forward to it.

“If I don’t come here I may not see many people. I try to get to know people, especially the new folks who may not be comfortable at first.” Edward is the welcoming voice closest to the serving line.

While Edward holds court, Jennifer and I change tables to meet some of the other diners. Rick and Mike are longterm AIDS survivors.  Rick became positive in 1997, Mike in 1987.

They both were successful businessmen who held professional jobs and never expected to be clients of a non-profit like Resource Center, but HIV has taken its toll and neither are able to work. Now, they live together to look after each other, have some company and help with living expenses.

“This place is important to me,” Rick states firmly. “I take a lot of medication and, well, it can make me confused,” he confides. “I really like to cook. I used to cook all the time, but now, well, many times I start cooking but I can’t finish what

I’m cooking. I don’t remember what to do next so I just give up. But then the medicine makes you sick if you are not eating.

This lunch solves a lot of problems for me.”

Rick looks straight at me, and I realize that he is about to say something he hates to admit: “Plus this place gives me a reason to get up and get dressed and gets me out. If I didn’t come here I might never go outside.”

Mike nods his head in agreement. “The interaction at the table is very important. There are people going through what you are going through, or maybe you can help somebody with a problem that you had once. Maybe you can teach them about Social Security or how to make it through a day at Parkland. Living on charity is not an easy way to live.

“There are homeless people here. They can get groceries from the Food Pantry but if you have no place to cook, how are you going to eat a hot meal? At least the kids on the street can get one hot meal a day.”

Mike knows a few of the homeless kids who got sick and went back home to stay. Their parents thought they just had a sick kid, then they found out they had a gay kid too, so they just turned them out on the street. “Isn’t that wrong?” he asks in disgust.  “Is to me.”

Edward and Mike and Rick turn a few questions to me. Why are you here? Why are you taking notes? I explain that I am doing Lone Star Ride, writing this installment of LSR Journal and, most importantly, asking people for money to keep programs like Hot Meals going.

“The great thing about the ride is that it a very public statement,” Mike says. “You let people know that AIDS is still here. It’s still with me, that’s for sure.”

Jennifer asks how Lone Star Ride fundraising is going. She knows it is tough out there raising money. “Whatever you raise, we will make it go as far as possible,” she promises.

Indeed she does. For that thirty bucks I spend on a typical business lunch, Jennifer can feed an RCD client a hot lunch every weekday for a month. On thirty bucks. Amazing.

The crew and the riders who come together to make events like Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS work ultimately are there because they want to help people like Edward and Mike and Rick, and all the clients and the programs of the three beneficiaries.

We ride for those who cannot.  I am determined to ride every mile.

As I get up to leave, Rick stands up and shakes my hand, and invites me back. I accept. I tell him we’ll share a table again. Because like Rick says, “I like going out for lunch.”

Robert Moore is captain of Team Dallas Voice. Donate to him online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

LifeWalk: A big party for a big anniversary

20th annual LifeWalk steps off Oct. 10, will benefit 9 ASOs

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor nash@dallasvoice.com

Lifewalk
WALKING FOR A CAUSE | Participants in the 20th annual LifeWalk in October can choose any one of 10 partner organizations to benefit from the funds they raise.

Twenty years is a long time for a fundraising event to stay active, not to mention successful. And a 20th anniversary calls for a special celebration.

And that’s exactly what AIDS Arms has planned for the 20th annual LifeWalk set for Sunday, Oct. 10 at Lee Park.

As the event marks its 20th year, AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles said, “One of the things we wanted to do, right out of the gate, was increase our partnerships within the nonprofit community, to increase the number of partner agencies that would benefit from LifeWalk.

“We had four partner agencies last year. This year, we have nine. There are 10 organizations, counting AIDS Arms,” she said.

LifeWalk was created in 1991 as a fundraiser for Oak Lawn Community Services. When that agency folded, AIDS Arms took over, each year inviting other AIDS service organizations in the community to participate.

Nobles said organizers this year made a point to reach out to all the ASOs still in existence that had benefited from AIDS Arms in the past, asking them to participate again.

And the nine that are partnering with AIDS Arms for the event have the opportunity to add significantly to their coffers, she said.

“Every partner agency gets all the tools they need to have a successful LifeWalk team,” Nobles said. “They can potentially make a lot of money for themselves. It’s sort of the same model as the Black Tie Dinner. With Black Tie, beneficiaries can more or less write their own check, depending on how many tables they sell, how many raffle tickets they sell and how many volunteer hours they put in.

“What they get in return is the infrastructure for a very established event here in Dallas, and they can use that to benefit their organizations,” Nobles said.

It’s very similar with LifeWalk: Each agency works to get people to raise money and walk, and the money raised in an agency’s name goes to that agency, she explained.

Nobles said that LifeWalk strives each year to bring in enough sponsorships to completely cover the costs of staging the event, and they have reached that goal again this year. That means that “every penny that the walkers earn” goes to either AIDS Arms or one of the nine other beneficiary organizations.

“Of every dollar the beneficiaries raise, they keep 75 cents. The other 25 cents comes back to LifeWalk for next year’s event. That allows us to create an investment account to secure the future of the event, and it gives every beneficiary unrestricted funds to use however they need to,” Nobles said.

LifeWalk, Nobles continued, is a great example of the benefits of working together.

“The issue of collaboration is so important in this [HIV/AIDS] community. We all depend on each other so heavily these days, and this is one more opportunity for us to come together under one cause and help each of our individual organizations grow stronger .

“We [as organizations] may be very different from one another. We may not always agree with each other. But we are all here for the same reason,” she said. “And LifeWalk is an excellent platform to show the community that we can and do work together and partner together on behalf of our clients.”

In another nod to the past, all of the previous LifeWalk chairs have been invited to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration, Nobles said.

“We are hunting down, if you will, all the previous chairs, and we have been able to locate quite a few of them. Many of them still live in Dallas,” she said. “There is a group of previous chairs who have reaching out to the community, working to remind folks about LifeWalk, telling them, ‘Hey, this is why we were involved, and still are involved, in this event. This is the impact it can have on our community.”

Nobles said it has been gratifying for her to hear the stories of past LifeWalk chairs and to hear that so many of the people who were involved in past years are still supportive of the event.

“Many of them still attend LifeWalk every year, and they have some very personal reasons for doing so. It has been very moving for us to hear those stories,” she said. “Many of them will be at the 20th anniversary, and we are very proud that we can have them there to let everyone acknowledge the history and their contributions and what they have been able to build through this event.”

LifeBark — the LifeWalk co-event created several years ago to allow people to bring their dogs to the event and use their pets to widen their fundraising options — is “still howling,” Nobles said.

“There will be registration available for all the pups who want to walk and wag their tails for a good cause. There will be doggie games and treats and all kinds of vendors. And Operation Kindness will be there, too, with dogs available for adoption,” she noted.

LifeWalk representatives will be selling raffle tickets for the 2011 Mercedes Benz that will be raffled off during Black Tie Dinner in November, and there will be free HIV testing available to anyone who wants to get tested. Plus, there will be LifeWalk raffles for a new living room suite and for two American Airlines tickets to “anywhere American flies,” Nobles said.

The Buster Brown Band, which Nobles described as a “lively jazz band,” will be entertaining in Lee Park for LifeWalk, as will Darcell, a Dallas native who is coming back from Los Angeles to perform. And Dallas Pride Cheer will be on hand as well.

Nobles said AIDS Arms is proud that LifeWalk is one of the first local events to get the “family-friendly” seal of approval from the Human Rights Campaign’s local Family Equality Committee.

“There will be lots of things for the kids and teenagers to do, as well as the adults,” she said.

Although some teams have been working for months to raise money for LifeWalk, there will be plenty of people there walking as individuals, too, Nobles said.

And individuals will be able to register and participate right up until the time the walk steps off.

“All you have to do is show up at Lee Park that day and pay the $30 registration fee and get the T-shirt that comes with the registration fee,” Nobles said. “You can download the form from LifeWalk.org and turn it in that day, or you can register online, or you can just come out and register that day. Just show up at noon and walk. It’s as easy as that.”

Although LifeWalk is permeated with an air of celebration and fun, Nobles said she also wants people to remember the very serious reasons behind the walk.

“The HIV epidemic is doing nothing but growing right now in Dallas,” she said. “There are some great things happening to help fight that epidemic, and LifeWalk is a very important avenue for people to use to help us reach the goals we’ve set to be successful for our clients.

“We hope everyone will come on out, enjoy the anniversary celebration, enjoy the party and enjoy doing something good for somebody who really needs your help.”

For more information, go online to LifeWalk.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

One Night in Bangkok

One Night in Bangkok

PARTY PROCEEDS  | Organizers of the fourth annual “One Night In Bangkok” party present proceeds from the July 30 event held at The Brick the party’s two beneficiaries, the Turtle Creek Chorale and Resource Center Dallas. Pictured are RCD Development Director Ben Leal, Vincent Johnson with The Club, RCD board member Steve Rayl, Kenn Kirkland with The Club, event promoter Dannee Phann, Dawson Taylor of Turtle Creek Chorale, Kenn McBryde of Turtle Creek Chorale and Brick owner Howard Okon.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Black Tie Dinner beneficiary application process underway

Officials with the Black Tie Dinner have announced that they are now accepting applications for nonprofit organizations who want to be beneficiaries of the 2010 dinner.

The application is available online at BlackTie.org, and there will be an optional orientation meeting for groups interested in applying on Monday, Feb. 15, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Seminar Room on the second level of the Sheraton Dallas hotel. The orientation meeting will include a presentation on the application process and the requirements to apply, as well as a chance for applicants and potential applicants to apply.

For more information, go to BlackTie.org, and watch this Friday’s issue of Dallas Voice.

—  admin