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CHICAGO The AIDS Run and Walk Chicago returned to Soldier Field on Saturday after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 2,000 people took off near Soldier Field this morning, working to raise money and awareness for those impacted by HIV/AIDS.

“We were really grateful to be able to help people living with HIV, so they’re not going hungry and that’s exactly where donations are going to help people who are living with HIV and are vulnerable to thrive,” AIDS Foundation Chicago President John Peller said.

The event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause, while also paying homage to those who have lost their lives with the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

“It’s so wonderful that we’re out here. We’re visible. We’re seeing each other. We’re acknowledging each other’s struggles and that is what we have to do,” Mike Simmons, the first openly gay State Senator in Illinois history said.

The first display of the quilt featured the names of 1,900 people, with over 48,000 quilt panels telling the stories of the lives lost over the years.

WGN’s very own Dean Richards emceed the event, with reporter Mike Lowe among those crossing the finish line.

“I just think about what a different fight it is now and different outcome when someone tests positive for HIV, and it is because of the work of AIDS Foundation Chicago and many, many other organizations,” Richards said.