ELTON JOHN, PARTNER RAISE R50M FOR NEW HIV UNIT AT KZN HOSPITAL
SINGING legend Sir Elton John and his partner Canadian film-maker, David Furnish, have raised about R50 million to build a new HIV unit at the KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital.
The couple held a fundraiser at Old Windsor in the UK and partnered with international jewellery brand Bvlgari for the event ,which formed part of the Elton John Aids Foundation.
The hospital was identified last year when Sir John attended the International Aids Conference in Durban.
The fundraising will go towards combating Aids among 13 to15-year-olds in sub-Saharan Africa with the creation of a HIV unit within the Children’s Hospital, due to open later this year.
Chief executive of the hospital trust, Dr Arthi Ramkissoon, expressed his gratitude for the efforts of John and Furnish. “We hope that having figures like these associated with the new unit would bring more sponsors into the project,” said Ramkissoon.
Sir John told The Star’s sister paper, the Sunday Tribune, that he wanted to help create an Aids-free future.
“We’re not going to achieve that if Aids remains the leading cause of death for 10 to19year-olds in Africa.”
He said South Africa was chosen because of the large number of young people living with HIV/Aids. “My foundation doesn’t generally fund capital projects like this. But we all felt there was a real opportunity to create a beacon of excellence with this project.”
A regular visitor to the country, he said he hoped to return once the centre is up and running.