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Tens Of Thousands Walk To Raise Money For AIDS Fight

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An estimated 30,000 people walked in Central Park on Sunday to raise money to fight AIDS and help patients.

The 30th annual AIDS Walk New York raised money for GMHC (formerly Gay Men's Health Crisis) and more than 40 other area AIDS service organizations.

"It came about on the heels of a tragedy that was striking so many people and at a time when very little was being done by government, by media, by corporate America to address it," Craig Miller, AIDS Walk founder and senior organizer, told CBS2's Vanessa Murdock. "So it really fell upon the people of the Tri-State area to themselves -- organize, create this event, line up in support of GMHC and fight this many-decades fight that has been so gallantly fought.

"We're excited about what lays ahead as we have real potential to end this epidemic," he added.

Last year's 10K walk raised more than $5 million.

"For us, we're proud New Yorkers, an we want to help support the causes that are near and dear to us in the community, and it's a great camaraderie for all of us," said Gail Grimmett, the sponsor representative for Delta Air Lines, which had 130 employees participating in the walk.

Anthony Maselli was diagnosed 3-years-ago. He was in New York on Sunday, to raise awareness.

"There's a lot of people who stopped talking about it when it became less deadly," he told CBS2's Ilana Gold.

Janette Rios of Jersey City was there with a purpose as well.

"Be cautious out there. always get tested," she said.

Rios said HIV and AIDS devastated her family.

"My aunt, my uncle, I've got a cousin that is diagnosed with it. His sister died from it too," she said.

The money raised on Sunday, will help tens of thousands of patients.

"The money is critical because AIDS is not over. We have 50,000 new infections across the country every year. We still need to do more," Kelsey Louie, CEO, GMHC said.

The funds will help patients get healthcare, food, and jobs. It's also used for AIDS research and education.

"We felt this is a way we can get back and help people living with HIV that aren't as fortunate," Lisa Schenkel said.

CBS2 is a proud supporter of the AIDS walk, CBS2's Dana Tyler helped kickoff the event.


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