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WNCAP Cordially
Un-invites You... 
A personal message from WNCAP Executive Director Antonio Del Toro...
Dear friends,
The beginning of autumn is one of our favorite times of the year. Evenings grow cooler, and the sharp, earthy smell of burning firewood fills the air. The nightly chorus of cicadas fades and gives way to the sound of wind moving through the trees, and the lonesome clatter of bare branches. Fall can be a melancholy season. It is a time to reflect on the waning year, with all of its successes and lessons learned, and it is a time of transition, presenting us with the opportunity to rest and plan ahead for the thaw of spring.
WNCAP is facing its own time of transition. The agency is in its 32nd year, and as the sun sets on 2018, we look back fondly on 29 wonderful years of our signature event, the Raise Your Hand Auction and Gala. Many friends have contributed to the event over the years, but we would be remiss if we did not recognize three individuals in particular: Harry Brown, Pam Siekman, and Warren Fluharty. These three generous souls were instrumental in the gala’s success, and each one lent their talents to turn the auction into the event you have come to know and love. We are deeply grateful to them, and to our community, for helping us raise resources in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Left to Right: Harry Brown, Pam Siekman, and Warren Fluharty have been instrumental in raising awareness and resources for HIV/AIDS in WNC through the Raise Your Hand Auction & Gala.
Nevertheless, as we all know, the only reliable constant is change; sometimes said change takes the form of an ending, and other times, a new beginning. Our staff, board, and volunteers agree that as our agency continues to grow and evolve, our events and community outreach must evolve along with it. Therefore, it is with bittersweet joy that we would like to announce the discontinuation of WNCAP’s Raise Your Hand Auction and Gala.
The decision to cancel our longest-running event was not without discussion, debate and difficulty, but we are moving forward and remain resolute in our commitment to WNCAP’s mission. We will be exploring new ways to engage our community, but please, rest assured: we are not going anywhere! You will certainly hear from us as we roll out other exciting events in the months and years ahead, and we hope you will join us again.
For tonight, however, we invite you kick back, relax, and stay in! This year, there will be no tickets to buy, no sitter to hire, and no need to visit your hairdresser. Please enjoy a luxurious evening on your couch, in your most comfortable pajamas, and consider showing your support from the comfort of your own home. Thank you, friends—more to come soon!
In gratitude,

Antonio Del Toro, Executive Director
P.S. If you have any questions about the future of WNCAP programming, please feel free to reach out to me personally at or call (828) 252-7489.
Supporting the Work
WNCAP Receives $200K to Fight Opioid Epidemic in Far Western NC
On September 19, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded a $200,000 grant to WNCAP to combat the opioid crisis in the 7 far western counties of North Carolina: Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain and the Qualla Boundary.
A total of $19 million is being awarded to 95 organizations under the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy's (FORHP) Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Planning (RCORP-Planning). These one-year planning grants are a part of a multi-year initiative being implemented by HRSA to increase access to treatment and recovery services for opioid use disorder within rural areas.

WNCAP will use this funding to expand the WNC Harm Reduction Alliance (WNC HRA), a regional, multi-sector consortium that includes people who use drugs and people in recovery as well as any business, agency or organization in the service area that wants to be part of the solution. The original coalition was formed in 2015 as the Macon Overdose Prevention Coalition to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with opioid overdoses and other prevention and treatment services. In 2018, the name was changed to WNC HRA to reflect the expanded focus on the region.

The WNC HRA will develop plans to implement evidence-based opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions designed to reduce opioid overdoses, as well as new HIV and Hepatitis C infections among rural populations at the highest risk for substance use disorders.

If you or your organization is interested in being a member of the WNC HRA, please contact Stephanie Almeida at Help us save lives and heal families!

Election Season
Register to Vote in the Midterm Elections
It's true that every election year, pundits and politicians tell us that "this year is the most important election of your lifetime." But in 2018 in North Carolina, that might actually be true. Not only is every House member and state lawmaker up for re-election, along with a slew of state judges. This year, six proposed amendments to the North Carolina state constitution are on the ballot, affecting everything from the power of the governor to appoint judges to photo ID requirements for voting.
Everyone should vote in the November 6 Election, but it's especially critical for all those in the WNCAP extended family: people living with HIV or HepC, sex workers, people who use drugs, homeless individuals, LGBTQ folks, immigrants, and veterans are all communities who will be vitally impacted by who represents us in Raleigh and Washington. The registration deadline is Friday, October 12. And even if you miss that, early voting extends from October 17 until November 3, during which same-day registration is allowed. Please double check that you are registered to vote - and get five of your friends to do the same!
Never Forget
Last Call For AIDS Quilt Panels
WNCAP will present portions of the AIDS Memorial Quilt from November 26-December 1 at the Masonic Temple in downtown Asheville. This Friday, October 12, is the deadline for requesting a specific panel of a loved one to be displayed. If you would like to make a specific request, or to receive more information, please contact Randy at or call (828) 252-7489 ext. 313
WNCAP is also requesting volunteers to be exhibit hosts, or "docents", for the Quilt display. Exhibit hosts will greet guests, provide them with an information card and act as a pleasant and professional representative of WNCAP and monitor of the Quilt. Contact Chris at or (828) 252-7489 ext. 315 to schedule your 3-hour shift.
Season of Giving
WNCAP Seeks Businesses to Host Merry & Bright
Unbelievably, the Holiday Season is already soon upon us. In the midst of all the lines and crowds, the decorations and baked goods, it's important to remember those less fortunate than us. Merry and Bright collects donated gifts from the community so that all children can have a happy holiday. But before we begin collecting presents from all those Santa Clauses out there, we need local businesses to host the Merry and Bright collection boxes.
This is a fantastic way to show your patrons that you care about helping the local community. Want to end up on the "nice" list? Volunteer to help out Merry and Bright. Please contact Randy for more information at or call (828) 252-7489 ext. 313.
I'm Coming Out
National Coming Out Day is October 11
Thursday, October 11 is National Coming Out Day. It is a day to celebrate the process of coming out of the closet that many LGBTQ and people living with HIV choose to go through in order to find acceptance and community. This year marks the 30th Anniversary of National Coming Out Day.
Coming out has power. According to the Human Rights Campaign, one in two Americans knows someone who is openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Only one in ten know someone who is trans. But when non-queer and cis individuals personally know someone who is LGBTQ or HIV positive, it is far more difficult (though not impossible) to hold stigmatizing and discriminatory views. Coming out is a deeply personal process that is different for everyone. But on October 11, let's empower all those who choose to live their truth - even in the face of an intolerant society.
National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day is October 15
Monday, October 15 is National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day (Latinx is a term used to denote people of Latin American heritage without assuming male or female gender).
NLAAD is a national campaign that unites the Hispanic/Latino community in raising awareness of HIV, promotion of HIV testing, prevention, and education; in addition to other critical health issues such as Hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections.
The Latino Commission on AIDS founded NLAAD in 2003 and continues to coordinate its broader strategy. But the real impact of the day is executed by local organizations, which use October 15 as an opportunity to spread awareness, build capacity within HIV nonprofit organizations, and cast the spotlight on Latino faces behind the epidemic.

Word on the Street
RISE ABOVE Newsletter is By Clients, For Clients
Beginning in July of 2018, WNCAP rebooted an old initiative: creating and distributing a newsletter that is by clients, for clients. The latest incarnation is called "RISE ABOVE" and is funded by a grant received from AIDS United and the Southern HIV Impact Fund. The tagline of RISE ABOVE is "Serving the WHOLE Person" because we know that a person is far more than their HIV status.
That's why the newsletter addresses everything from mental health and meditation to community events and harm reduction. There's even an advice column penned by the inimitable "Miss Winnie", a cartoon drag queen with some surprisingly shrewd insights into HIV Prevention & Care. Check out the most recent edition of RISE ABOVE here - because we all need a little self care sometimes.
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Western North Carolina AIDS Project  |  554 Fairview Rd.  |  Asheville, NC 28803
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