Local LifeWalk volunteer creates quilt of 25 years worth of history


Terry Bax is a top Lifewalk fundraiser who uses creative strategies to engage and entice donors. Here he poses with a quilt of 25 years worth of team t-shirts. (James Russell/Dallas Voice)


JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

Local accountant Terry Bax first participated in LifeWalk, which benefits AIDS Arms, eight years ago. He was on the cusp of moving to Kansas City and was wishing he had gotten involved in the event much sooner.

“I wanted to be involved because I’ve had so many friends who died from AIDS-related illnesses. I just wanted to do something,” he said.

In 2012, Bax returned to Dallas. After establishing his independent accounting firm, he dedicated himself to LifeWalk. In that short amount of time, he has become one of the walk’s biggest fundraisers.

Team Clover, named for Bax’s clover tattoo, helped raised more than $53,000 last year, making it the second biggest fundraising LifeWalk team in 2014.
Bax solicits family and friends to donate, but he reaches his fundraising goals through a variety of other creative efforts, too. Emphasizing big events and projects as well as individual solicitations is the key to his success, he said.

Bax said his goal this year is to raise $100,000. To reach that, he’ll auction off a massive quilt, comprising 25 years of LifeWalk history, on Sunday, Oct. 4, the day of the walk. The 85-inch-by-101-inch quilt includes 200 blocks highlighting the teams involved in LifeWalk over 25 years. The six-inch-by-six-inch blocks will evoke many memories for any longtime LifeWalk participant. They include corporate or team logos and personal memories of now-departed walkers contributed by teams ranging from the now–closed Lanny’s Saloon to Starbucks.

Bax gathered every t-shirt and logo he could find, whether provided by AIDS Arms or from walkers he reached out to personally. He hunted down every last team to get pieces, and then the 200 blocks were patched together by a custom quilter. He said he wanted to include as much history as possible.

Lifewalk-1“Making this quilt at such a pivotal time not only honors the past but the progress we’ve made since [the AIDS crisis first hit] for gay rights. It’s so much more than AIDS,” he said. “It also represents people working toward the common good.”

Friends initially shrug when he describes the quilt, he said. But, “I tell them they have to see it. When they see it, their mouths drop open. It even gives me goose bumps thinking about it,” he added.

The quilt isn’t his only creative fundraising project. Last year, Bax asked each bar to pitch in as well. With help from the Kansas City AIDS Walk, he asked each bar to build a Putt Putt-style golf holes. It was a hit, and not just for the bars: Team Clover raised $2,500.

This year, the Team Clover Open, as Bax called it, will take place Saturday, Aug. 29. He anticipates easily raising $20,000 from a combination of participation fees from the bars and 20 teams.

A personal plea still matters though. Bax said he still sends texts and e-mails to family and friends, reminding them to donate to Team Clover. All of them are more than happy to donate.

“I sometimes ask myself, ‘Why do I do this to myself?’” he said. “I do things out of passion. But I’m also competitive. It’s a great use of skills. I’m able to help a cause.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 24, 2015.