The venerable but still vital AIDS Walk, once again co-sponsored by the City of West Hollywood, broke all records for number of participants and amount of money raised.
The beautifully warm and sun shiney day brought out over 30,000 walkers to trod the streets of LA raising donations to combat the life-threatening disease and provide for those who suffer from it.
The day’s host, Andrea Bowen from the cast of “Desperate Housewives,” kept things lively during opening ceremonies that glittered with television and film stars.
She introduced West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, who began his comments noting that he was one of only four elected officials in the state who has AIDS. “This disease is about the human response we make to it, this human response,” he declared, “Thank you for coming.”
Mayor Duran remarked that he had just attended his 30th high school reunion and took great pleasure when former schoolmates asked him what he was up to since graduation.
“I came out, got a deadly disease and I’m mayor of the coolest city in the country,” he said to cheers. “I’m doing real good.”
Wilson Cruz from “Noah’s Arc,” “Ugly Betty’s” Ana Ortiz and Hal Sparks of “Queer As Folk” also made a big splash with the crowd, gagging with one another.
Some other celebs in attendance were KellyCarison, “Nip/Tuck,” Faith Ford, “Carpoolens,” Deidre Hall, “Days Of Our Lives,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-Founder, Dreamworks and Jai Rodriguez, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
So, too, were Sara Ramirez, “Greys Anatomy,” Darryl Stephens, “Noah’s Arc,” Kimberiy McCullough, “General Hospital” and Jason Thompson, “General Hospital” in attendance on the main stage.
In a very special appearance, T.R. Knight, the Emmy award winning star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” made comments about being a gay television star and how he believed that by coming together as a community, AIDS could eventually be beaten.
Finally, a very special appearance by Hollywood Legend Shirley Jones (of Partridge Family fame) prefaced the traditional singing of the commencement song – You’ll Never Walk Alone – written by Rogers and Hammerstein for the 1945 Broadway show, Carousel.
The 30,000, taking heed, walked together down Santa Monica Boulevard on the way to a 10 kilometer (6 mile) walk, The trail of humanity stretched for over a mile, and in this shot one can see why a record $3.9 million was raised on the day.