ONE was lucky enough to spend a very special evening with partner Blood:Water Mission for the Red Tie Gala in Nashville, Tenn. The event, which coincided with World AIDS Day, was a celebration of the tremendous work that has been done around the world to fight HIV/AIDS.
ONE was especially pleased to honor ONE supporter and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for his instrumental role in passing PEPFAR, an initiative of President George W. Bush to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Over the last decade, Dr. Frist has traveled with his organization Hope Through Healing Hands to more than a dozen African countries to study HIV/AIDS and perform surgery in Sudanese, Kenyan, Ugandan and Mozambican hospitals, and respond to disasters in Sri Lanka, Sudan, New Orleans, Haiti and the Horn of Africa.
A member of the ONE Vote advisory board, the Tennessee senator has always been a tremendous supporter of ONE, and it was our pleasure to join in paying tribute to him in his home town.
The Red Tie Gala also honored Dr. Richard Wamai with the Unsung Hero award for his ongoing research in the areas of HIV/AIDS, primarily the effects of male circumcision in the transmission of the disease. Dr. Wamai, a Kenya native who went to medical school in hopes of finding a breakthrough in the spread of AIDS, is an incredible reminder of the difference one individual can make.
ONE even got in on the fun of honoring these two incredible advocates by presenting them with (RED) Converse high-tops – to aid them in their fight against AIDS “one step at a time.”
Fundraising from the event benefitted New Life Medical Center, a partnership Blood:Water Mission began with Food for the Hungry Uganda in 2011. New Life Medical Center works to provide high quality comprehensive care and treatment as well as prevention support to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Kitgum, Uganda, while building the capacity of local community based organization to effectively run the clinic.
It was an amazing night for AIDS advocacy and truly inspiring to hear stories of all the work being done to end this epidemic. The night concluded with music from Charlie Peacock who told the audience he had just come from the airport after meeting his granddaughter, newly arrived from Uganda. One of his children had adopted her after she was orphaned due to AIDS – a reminder that, while a considerable amount of great work has been done, there is still much to do before AIDS is ended once and for all.