Published in the October 16, 2015 edition

MELROSE — The Melrose Alliance Against Violence will hold its 20th Annual Walk & Candlelight Vigil Sunday, Oct. 18, beginning at 4 p.m. at Memorial Hall in Melrose, the site where it all began.

This is a big anniversary for the important annual event, which raises money for and awareness of the need for stopping domestic and dating violence. The walk is so popular that some 90 sponsors already have dedicated over $16,000 to the cause, not far from the ambitious goal of $20,000 set for this 20th anniversary walk.

Sponsorships range from $125 to $1,000, although the alliance’s Hometown Hero Stephen Longmuir donated even more than that.

According to MAAV Executive Director Rebecca Mooney, between two thirds and three quarters of those who participate in the walk each year do so in teams with sponsors. Others walk as individuals who seek donations in the form of pledges from friends, neighbors and famiily.

If you’d like to sponsor the walk, please call 781-662-2010 or send an email to Payments also can be made online, using MAAV’s FirstGiving page.

Mayor Robert Dolan will serve as the Honorary Chairperson of the event.

In addition to Mayor Dolan, members of the 20th Annual Walk & Candlelight Vigil Honorary Host Committee include:

• Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito

• U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

• U.S. Senator Edward Markey

• U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark

• State Representative Paul Brodeur

• State Senator Jason Lewis

• Former District Attorney Gerry Leone

• Melrose Chief of Police Mike Lyle

• Former Attorney General Scott Harshbarger

• Attorney General Maura Healey

• Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian

• Former First Lady of Massachusetts Diane Patrick

• Former Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly

• Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan

• State Senator Thomas McGee

• Melrose Superintendent of Schools Cyndy Taymore

• Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan

• Secretary Daniel Bennett, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

“Through outreach and education and by forging partnerships with the school district and police department, the Melrose Alliance Against Violence developed one of the earliest models of a localized response to domestic violence in Middlesex County. I am proud to join with so many others as a member of the 20th Anniversary Honorary Host Committee,” said Marian T. Ryan, Middlesex District Attorney.

MAAV’s 20th Annual Walk & Vigil begins at 4 p.m. at Memorial Hall in Melrose with a candlelight vigil to honor victims of domestic violence homicide. The vigil will be followed by a two-mile walk around Ell Pond.

Community members are welcome to participate in the walk by forming teams, serving as sponsors or making individual contributions. This year’s walk will be followed by a post-walk celebration at Memorial Hall.

The event serves as MAAV’s largest annual fundraiser, with last year’s walk raising more than $40,000.

Donations are used to fund prevention and intervention initiatives throughout the community and in the Melrose Public Schools. MAAV’s programs seek to curb bullying, teen dating abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.