Cuomo AWNY 2015
Governor Andrew Cuomo addresses the crowd at the 30th annual AIDS Walk New York
Photo credit: GMHC

More than 30,000 walkers filled Central Park on Sunday, May 15, for the 30th annual AIDS Walk New York. They raised more than $4.8 million for HIV/AIDS service organizations throughout the tri-state area and broke the trend in declining returns on AIDS walks across the country, according to a press release from event organizer GMHC.

The 2015 10-kilometer walk actually raised more money than last year’s event, and remains the country’s largest single-day advocacy event for HIV/AIDS. More than 2,600 corporate and community teams made up the bulk of this year’s participants.

At the outset of the walk, Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the crowds after he was honored by GMHC for his leadership in a new plan to end AIDS in New York State by the end of the decade. “New York has always been the progressive capital,” said Cuomo in his opening speech. “We are going to show the nation that we are committed to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2020, and we challenge every state to join us in the crusade.”

Other notable opening ceremony participants included actress Tyne Daly and actor/director David Hyde Pierce (of the Broadway show It Shoulda Been You), TV stars Kit Williamson (Mad Men), Nick Wechsler (Revenge) and Bellamy Young (Scandal), as well as CBS-2 news anchor Dana Tyler.

Duane Reade sponsored this year’s walk and helped bolster the fundraising event by allowing store patrons to honor the day by making donations through their credit cards at various locations throughout the state. So far, the in-store program has raised more than $1.5 million for HIV/AIDS during the past five years. Other top sponsors included Bristol-Myers Squibb, Delta Air Lines, Gilead and Quest Diagnostics.

In the week leading up to the event, the New York City skyline glowed red to help raise awareness for HIV/AIDS. Overall, AIDS Walk New York has raised more than $139 million for HIV programs since 1986.

AWNY 2015
Photo credit: GMHC