Our mission is to raise support (financial, in-kind and volunteer) for the Jo-Ray House, which provides services to people impacted by HIV/AIDS living on the south side of Chicago, IL.

You know how you watch the news and you hear of a terrible statistic, and you lean over and say, “you know, SOMEBODY ought to do something about that!” Well guess what…we heard you!

This Saturday, September 20, 2008, my wife Roni and I will participate in the annual AIDS Run & Walk Chicago, sponsored by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. And even though you might not be able to run or walk, you can help by making a tax-deductible contribution to organizations that provide services to people impacted by HIV/AIDS.

We are walking because we believe that it is important for us to take a stand against the devastation in our communities left by the HIV/AIDS virus. Right here in Chicago, Black people only make up 36% of Chicago’s population, but 55% of all people living with HIV are Black. HIV is the 3rd leading cause of death among Black men aged 35-44, resulting in more deaths than homicide, cancer, stroke and diabetes. HIV is also the 2nd leading cause of death among Latino men aged 36-44. HIV infection is also growing at an alarming rate among Black teenagers. And although many advances have been made in treatment, more than 300 people in our community will die of AIDS between now and next year. Funds for treatment and prevention of HIV have decreased in our communities as well.

Its time for us to take action. Roni and I will be participating with the Jo-Ray House, an organization that provides services to people infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Ida W. Byther-Smith is the Founder of the Jo-Ray House and a member of my church, New Life Covenant Oakwood. Her amazing story has been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as the CBS Evening News, to name a few. Monies raised from the AIDS Run & Walk will benefit organizations that provide services to stop the destruction caused by HIV, including prevention education, case management and supportive housing.

You can support this effort and help us fight this disease by going online and making a donation to our team. ALL OF THE MONIES RAISED will go directly to organizations that do work in the communities needing it. I’m asking all of our friends to take less than 3 minutes, click on the link below and make a donation of at least $25 today:


Again, I’m asking you to donate $25, but you can donate whatever amount you can. Some may want to give $10, some may be able to give $250. If your company has matching funds, you can donate as well, and all donations are tax-deductible. Our goal as a team is to raise $700, but I am confident that we can meet AND exceed that goal and prove that, as a community, we care about our neighbors even if we aren’t personally impacted by the disease.

For more information about Ida W. Byther-Smith or the Jo-Ray House—or to make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Jo-Ray House, visit www.jorayhouse.com. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thank you, God bless, and keep us in your prayers!



Shaun and Veronica Marshall
Team Name: Jo-Rays of Hope!

1. Community education through media can help provide information to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

2. Collaborations between churches, businesses and social service agencies is the best way to organize a community to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

3. Those infected with HIV/AIDS should not encounter barriers to living a normal, healthy and productive life.