Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala celebrates 20 years

Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala celebrates 20 years

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The 20th Annual Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards Gala marks three decades of service by the Desert Aids Project in the fight against HIV and AIDS.  

"Thirty years ago if you were HIV positive it was a death sentence, now it's actually gone so far on and it's about helping them live and thrive and give them support," said Gala co-chair Jim Casey.  

California Senator Barbara Boxer comes each year to show her support for the Desert AIDS Project.

"It's saving lives, it means a lot and without it I think people would be in a lot of trouble," Boxer said. 

Meanwhile 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski attended the gala for the first time.

"Can you give us a preview of what you're going to sing?" 

"Oh, that would be very expensive," Krakowski said.

The Awards honored several special members of the organization for their commitment to the cause.

"We take care of people every day that are in need every day and that's why it's so important to me," said honoree Curt Ringness, former chair of the D.A.P. Board of Directors. Ringness received the Distinguished Leadership Award.

"We want to destigmatize it, we want to get everyone tested, anyone who's HIV positive in treatment and we want to end AIDS in our lifetime," said honoree Terri Ketover, who received the 100 Women Award.

Also handed out tonight: a special Arts and Activism Award celebrating AIDS in cinema over the last 30 years. 

"I think we want to remind them AIDS is not over but also remind them how far we've come," Casey said.

Celebrating the influential history of the D.A.P. each year keeps the focus on this important cause until there's a cure. 

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