Ryan Braun to chair AIDS Walk Wisconsin

Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun would much rather be participating in the playoffs this weekend but one benefit of the team not making it that far is that he gets to attend in person the Aids Walk Wisconsin on Saturday at the SummerFest Grounds.

Braun already had volunteered to be the Honorary Chair of the event and had a videotaped message ready should the Brewers still be playing. Instead, he will be on hand for the fundraiser that raises money to stay in state and support HIV prevention as well as care and treatment services including the ARCW Medical Center.

"First and foremost, it's a very worthwhile cause," said Braun, who follows past Honorary Chairs such as Bud Selig, Paul Molitor, Clay Matthews, Magic Johnson, Daryl Hamilton and Al Gore. "I think it's important for all of us to continue to raise awareness and raise money for research, prevention and treatment."
Braun said his mother often participated in AIDS fundraisers and wanted to follow in her footsteps.

"At a young age, she instilled in me the importance of giving back and how important this cause was, and how many people were affected by this disease," he said. "So, finally I have a chance to do my part and I'm excited about it.

"I think everybody knows or has heard of someone affected by AIDS. Growing up a Laker fan in Los Angeles, I remember seeing Magic go through it. And one of my mom's best friend's brother has AIDs. So, I have known people who have fought it."

As for the AIDS Walk Wisconsin, Braun said, "We hope to get as many people to come out as possible. People can still register. They can go to the Web site, www.aidswalkwis.org, or call 1-800-348-WALK and still show up on Saturday and participate. The more involvement we have, the better. In the state of Wisconsin, the number of cases has increased 19% with new IV infections, so the more people involved to fight it, the better.

"I would have preferred that the Brewers made the playoffs, but I'm excited that I'll have an opportunity to actually be there on Saturday. I hope as many people as possible can come out there."

Walker registration begins at the SummerFest Grounds at 10 a.m., with opening ceremonies at noon and the 5K walk beginning at 12:30 p.m. AIDS Walk Wisconsin is the state's largest AIDS fundraiser and has raied more than $11 million over 22 years.

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