The story of Steve Chase

"A genius. He was so brilliant. He had such concepts."

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - "A genius. He was so brilliant. He had such concepts," Helene Galen said about Steve Chase. 

"Obviously brilliant. Great sense of humor,' Michael Kiner said. 

Yet friends of Steve Chase, such as Galen and Kiner, said even the best words can't describe him. Some, like Galen, knew Steve Chase the interior designer. 

"I had already hired a designer from San Francisco, and someone said to me, 'Do not do anything until you meet Steve Chase,'" Galen said. 

After stepping into her home, Steve had a vision - and created it.

"He would kick you out for a week before, then he would invite you for cocktails. You would walk into your own front door for the first time. Champagne and Steve would walk you through and you'd say. 'This is my house,'" Galen said. 

When he wasn't designing the insides of some of the desert's most majestic homes, Steve donated time and money to the Palm Springs Desert Museum. The Living Desert, The McCallum Theatre, and perhaps most notably - The Desert Aids Project. He helped coordinate D.A.P.'s first fundraiser. 

"If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have had that level. Steve contacted his clients to attend, we would have President and Mrs. Ford, Joan Kroc, major philanthropists at these events," Kiner said. 

In 1984, Desert Aids Project started with a group of volunteers. With the help of leaders like Chase, a model aids service organization took form. 

"When he was sick, the drugs available today or 15 years ago weren't around. He didn't have that opportunity to extend the quality of his life," Kiner said. 

Steve died of aids-related complications in 1994. One year later - the first Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards took place. 

"He brought so many marks to the desert you can see Steve Chase everywhere," Galen said. 

"The Steve Chase" has honored stars of HIV research and medicine, as well as activist-stars of stage and screen, for their commitment in raising awareness and funding to continue the fight. 

"I think it's very appropriate that the millions of dollars raised are in the name of Steve Chase," Kiner said. 


Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Life.

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