Walk ‘n’ Roll set to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS

The second annual Walk ‘n’ Roll for HIV/AIDS helps raise money and awareness while educating participants as they walk or ride bicycles around downtown Las Vegas.

“We give the participants registration booklets that include questions about HIV and AIDS,” said Lane Olsen, one of the event organizers. “They answer the questions at each stop and get their booklets stamped. The finished books are used to enter a raffle for prizes at the end of the event.”

Olsen said it’s a fun way to involve the participants, and it leads to the goal of education about HIV/AIDS.

“The more people are educated about HIV/AIDS, the less stigma and fear there will be,” Olsen said. “There will be less infections because more people will be educated about how not to contract it. People will also learn that you can live longer if you have it with medication.”

Olsen is the executive director of ActionRED, one of four organizations involved in putting together Walk ‘n’ Roll, which includes walkers and cyclists, some with bicycles provided by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

“One of the things ActionRED does is an adherence program that helps people to understand the importance of the medication. We bring in pharmacists and lecturers to talk.”

The group’s website says its goals include improving the lives of individuals living with HIV/AIDS and to assist them in obtaining health care.

The other organizations involved with the planning and benefiting from Walk n’ Roll are The Center, Community Outreach Medical Center and the Sin City Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

“The Sin City Sisters do things like help provide medications for people falling in a gap with their Sisters AIDS Drug Assistance Program,” Olsen said. “They also go to bars and do outreach and education.”

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are hard to miss at any event they attend, wearing brightly colored and revealing costumes based loosely on nuns’ habits and faces painted white with brightly colored designs reminiscent of Kabuki makeup.

Registration and entertainment are set to begin at 8 a.m. Oct. 12 at Jackie Gaughan Plaza at the El Cortez, 600 Fremont St.

“Jeff Civillico, who has a show at The Quad and does juggling and comedy, is going to host the entertainment,” Olsen said. “There’s a bunch of different acts that will be performing before and after the Walk ‘n’ Roll.”

An opening ceremony is scheduled from 9 to 10 a.m., which is set to culminate in the walkers and rollers starting off in their separate but overlapping routes. Streets will not be closed for the event, so walkers will use the sidewalks.

Joshua Montgomery, HIV prevention director/Vegas empowerment coordinator for The Center, is organizing the volunteers this year.

“We hope to have about 100 volunteers,” Montgomery said. “They’ll be there to make sure everyone stays on the routes and to make sure there’s water for everyone.

“The walkers are going to stop at The Center, the Fifth Street School, the Gold Spike and then head back to Jackie Gaughan Plaza,” Olsen said. “The riders are going to The Center, the RTC, the Neon Museum and then meet back at Jackie Gaughan Plaza.”

Entertainment is set to continue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s a free event, but we have incentives for people who raise money,” Olsen said. “If you bring in $35, you get the Walk ‘n’ Roll T-shirt, which looks really great this year. For $50, you get the T-shirt and show tickets.”

For more information, visit walknroll4lv.org.

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 702-380-4532.

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