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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 25, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 08
Lifelong AIDS Alliance hosts Greg Louganis at breakfast benefit
Section One
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Lifelong AIDS Alliance hosts Greg Louganis at breakfast benefit

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The Lifelong AIDS Alliance held 'Making a Difference: The 2nd Annual Benefit Breakfast' February 24 at The Red Lion Hotel (1415 Fifth Ave.) from 7:30-9 a.m. The breakfast benefit is a community event that provides an opportunity for donors, corporations, and political leaders to join together and make a charitable difference in the lives of those affected by and living with HIV and AIDS.

Lifelong officials say the mission of the alliance is to prevent the spread of HIV and to provide practical support services and advocate for those whose lives are affected by the disease.

The well-attended breakfast was emceed by Emmy-winning anchor Jean Enersen. A longtime supporter and advocate for Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Enersen has served as co-chair of the Seattle AIDS Walk & 5K Run.

The event was free to attend, but a minimum $150 donation was suggested.

This year's guest speaker was Gay icon and Olympic Gold Medalist diver Greg Louganis. Louganis spoke eloquently about the obstacles he has overcome. Louganis learned of his HIV-positive status in the late '80s and has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights since he publicly came out as Gay in the mid-'90s.

Dr. Lawrence Corey, president and director-elect of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was the recipient of the 2011 Ned Behnke Leadership Award, given in memory of Ned Behnke and presented to a special person who exemplifies the leadership and commitment of the Behnke family. The honoree must demonstrate exceptional vision and courage in promoting AIDS awareness in the community. Lifelong AIDS Alliance officials chose Dr. Cory, an American physician-scientist and an internationally recognized expert on infectious diseases, because they say his discoveries have been recognized as having advanced the understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of disease caused by viruses, especially HIV.

Attendees of the breakfast were asked to donate to Lifelong AIDS Alliance to aid them in the important work they do.

Lifelong AIDS Alliance was formed in 2001 through the merger of Chicken Soup Brigade and Northwest AIDS Foundation.

'We've come a long way since our beginnings in 1983, when a soup can was passed around Volunteer Park and collected the first $42 to help people living with HIV/AIDS in our community,' said officials. 'Today, we are staffers, volunteers, donors, and community members from many different backgrounds. We are united in our determination to make sure that we never forget that HIV/AIDS still exists. We will be here until there is a cure.'

According to Lifelong officials, the organization does whatever it takes to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. 'We provide health insurance so that people can get the care they need. We cook and deliver healthy meals. We ensure that people have a safe place to live. And our caring case managers help people every step of the way.'

Until there is a cure, preventing new AIDS infections is our best hope. 'Lifelong distributes hundreds of thousands of condoms each year, along with safer-sex messages aimed at stopping thousands of new infections,' say officials. 'We also counsel those at risk of spreading or acquiring HIV.'

In addition, the organization is a strong advocate for change. 'Decisions made in Olympia and Washington, D.C., have a profound effect upon people living with HIV/AIDS here in Seattle/King County,' conclude officials. 'We represent those living with HIV/AIDS and ensure that our voices are heard at the local, state, and federal levels.'

Events like the 2nd Annual Lifelong AIDS Alliance Benefit Breakfast are just one small part of the visibility and action taken by the organization to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and providing services for those living with it.

For more information about Lifelong AIDS Alliance, visit their official website at www.lifelongaidsalliance.org.

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