- More than 800 Employees Volunteer to Support Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in New Jersey and Africa -
NUTLEY, N.J., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, more than 800 local Roche employees are participating in the Sixth Annual Roche Children's Walk to raise funds to support children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in New Jersey and Africa. Employees who volunteer for the 5K Walk, which takes them through the township of Nutley, collect donations for their efforts, and Roche matches these funds.
In addition to Nutley, the Roche Children's Walk takes place at 101 company locations worldwide, including operations in Branchburg, New Jersey; Indianapolis, Indiana; Florence, South Carolina; Boulder, Colorado; Palo Alto and Pleasanton, California; as well as in Basel, Switzerland. To date, Roche has raised approximately five million Swiss francs since the first AIDS walk in 2003. In 2007, more than 14,000 employees took part around the globe.
A portion of donations from the Roche Children's Walk in Nutley are distributed to community-based non-profit organizations serving people living with HIV/AIDS through the New Jersey AIDS Partnership (NJAP). Since the Walk's inception in 2003, Roche has donated over $350,000 to NJAP. According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 34,470 people were reported living with HIV/AIDS in New Jersey in 2007. For information on NJAP, please access http://www.hyacinth.org/hyacinth/news/NewJerseyAIDSPartnership.jsp.
"We are very fortunate to have a supporter like Roche," said Paula Toynton, director of the New Jersey AIDS Partnership. "The generosity of their employees is amazing, and we are so grateful for their continued support and enthusiasm, which enables us to provide needed services throughout the communities we serve."
Employees Give Back
Undeterred by the weather, Nutley employees have walked in the rain, snow and gusty winds in past years and are very proud to contribute to such a worthy cause. "There are many things I take a great deal of pride in at Roche. At the very top of the list is the fact that we all recognize how devastating AIDS can be, and in particular, for the children of parents with AIDS," said Gordon Willcox, vice president, Account Management at Roche. "It gives me such a feeling of pride and value to be involved in fund raising to support children of parents with AIDS in both New Jersey and in Malawi, Africa. The outpouring of support from our Nutley employees is awe inspiring and also personally quite humbling."
In addition to supporting the New Jersey AIDS Partnership, funds raised through the Roche Children's Walk will be donated to UNICEF to support orphanages in Malawi for children who have lost parents to AIDS. These donations fund food, clothing, basic health care and schooling. More than half a million children in Malawi have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Health experts say that sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst affected region in the world; in 2007, 33.2 million people were living with HIV. According to the World Health Organization, 66 percent of world's population living with HIV resides in Sub-Saharan Africa, and this region carries the highest burden of HIV infection and HIV/AIDS mortality in the world. Approximately three-quarters of women and 90% of children are living with AIDS in this region.
"The Roche Children's Walk is a wonderful opportunity to engage employees in supporting local as well as international efforts," said Jeannine Bender, director, Corporate Relations and Contributions at Roche. "The funds they raise are tremendously helpful to the various organizations and ultimately the patients and families they support."
Top Roche Fundraisers Visit Malawi
Each year, the names of the top Roche fund-raisers from around the globe are entered into a drawing, and several are selected to visit Malawi. During their trip, the participants have the opportunity to visit the orphan centers and speak to the children, local helpers and European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP). This allows participants to see for themselves how the donations from the Global Roche Employee AIDS Walk are being used.
About the Roche Children's Walk
The Roche Children's Walk was originally the Roche Employee AIDS Walk, which started in 2003 as a pilot project involving three Roche locations. It was inspired by employees concerned about the growing number of AIDS orphans in Africa and their desire to personally do something to help. The pilot walk was an overwhelmingly success: 1,300 employees participated and a total of 330,000 Swiss francs were raised. Since then it has continuously grown, and last year 95 sites participated, with over 14,000 colleagues walking, and over one million Swiss francs were donated to support the AIDS orphans in Malawi. The focus of the activities is on building and equipping seven orphan centers, including a health clinic, in Southern Malawi, which provide day care and support learning to approximately 3,000 children as well as life-saving resources such as food, water, clothing and basic healthcare. The goals of these centers are to keep the children off the streets and offer the hope of a brighter future.
Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche), based in Nutley, N.J., is the U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters of the Roche Group, one of the world's leading research-oriented healthcare groups with core businesses in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. For more than 100 years in the U.S., Roche has been committed to developing innovative products and services that address prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, thus enhancing people's health and quality of life. For additional information about the U.S. pharmaceuticals business, visit our website www.rocheusa.com. Product and treatment information for U.S. healthcare professionals is available at www.RocheExchange.com.
Contact: Darien E. Wilson (973)562-2232 [email protected]