Hope and Help boosts events for 25th anniversary

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The Hope and Help Center of Central Florida is celebrating its 25th anniversary in style, with a new event every few months.

“We’re not just going to do one single event on the day of the anniversary,” said Christopher Hessler, Events Manager for Hope and Help. “It’s going to be all year round.”

First up is Wicked After Dark, where performers from the Broadway show will sing show tunes in a Cabaret style setting at The Abbey on March 6. There will be one-of-a-kind auction items featured at this event, including a walk-on part when the touring version of Wicked stops in Orlando later this month.

Hessler said the plan is for the May 18 AIDS Walk to have the largest turnout in the state with 4,000 walkers, doubling last year’s total. The organization’s staff is reaching out to sponsors, donors, and previous captains and walkers to begin organizing efforts early.

The Headdress Ball will also be an amped-up version of Hope and Help’s signature event. This year it’s Oct. 26 and staff is already in the final stages of the production side, with artwork for the event set to be released in the next few weeks.

In addition, there will be smaller events created throughout the year in celebration of Hope and Help’s 25th anniversary, including some special donor recognition.

“It’s a huge milestone,” Hessler said. “We didn’t plan on being around this long, but we managed to survive.”

Throughout the year, Hope and Help will post constant updates and CDC statistics on the current status of how HIV/AIDS is affecting people in Florida today, including where they can go to get the treatment they need.

(Previously published in the print and online versions of Watermark magazine.)

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