From my family and me, thank you for your commitment and continued support. It is because of individuals like you that the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Foundation has grown to where we are today, and I would like to take an upcoming opportunity to tell you about your impact Today we are saving the lives of children and their mothers around the world and will continue to make tremendous impacts in countries like Lesotho.
Along with her two best friends, my mother, Elizabeth Glaser, created the Foundation to try to save the lives of her children – my sister, Ariel, and me. This year, the Foundation and the world marked the 30th anniversary of the first HIV diagnosis. While my mother and my sister didn’t live to see the progress that has been made - it has been through generous gifts from individual donors like you that made possible the pediatric AIDS research, prevention, and treatment that enabled me and thousands of other children to survive and thrive.
Here are the facts. Today, medical breakthroughs have made it possible to prevent the transfer of HIV from mothers to children. In the United States and Western Europe, there are virtually no babies born with HIV.
Still, the crisis remains... primarily in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2009, 360,000 babies were born with HIV and almost half of these children died by the age of two. We have the science and the medicine to prevent pediatric HIV/AIDS. The time for action is now.
This past June, UNAIDS set an ambitious global plan to end all new pediatric HIV infections by 2015. The UN estimates that $500 million is being spent now and an additional $2.5 billion is needed. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chevron Corporation and Johnson & Johnson and many other leaders have stepped up with increased support. The Foundation has committed to partnering with these global organizations and local governments to achieve this extraordinary goal.
We hope to inspire our donors to become engaged in this vision and to join with us to end pediatric AIDS worldwide. We want to make you an insider and give you more background about the global movement towards ending pediatric AIDS.
I am so impressed with the Foundation’s exceptional leadership, and I am eager for you to meet them. Dr. Nick Hellmann, the Foundation’s Executive Vice President, Medical and Scientific Affairs will be hosting a 30-minute conference call briefing on Friday October 21st to give an update on his recent trip to Africa and the breakthrough medical research that was presented at the 6th annual International AIDS Society Conference this past July in Rome. I hope you will join me on this conference call, as Nick is one of the most passionate scientists I have ever met.
I hope that you will RSVP today to AZ Tice at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the conference call information and password. I look forward to joining the conference call with you.
With much appreciation,
Greetings to our wonderful supporters!
Thank you once again for you continued commitment to our shared mission of eliminating pediatric AIDS worldwide. As you know, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS, and our successes so far would not have been possible without the help of supporters like you. Working at more than 5,500 sites in 17 countries, the Foundation has reached more than 12.2 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies through our innovative program implementation, research and advocacy initiatives.
But that is us today. The Foundation’s beginnings were much more humble, simply founded by three moms sitting around a kitchen table who decided to make a difference.
It all began when Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV in a blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth to her daughter, Ariel. She and her husband, Paul, later learned that Elizabeth had unknowingly passed the virus on to Ariel through breast milk and that their son, Jake, had contracted the virus in utero. The Glasers discovered, in the course of trying to treat Ariel, that drug companies and health agencies had no idea that HIV was prevalent among children. The only drugs on the market were for adults; nothing had been tested or approved for children. Ariel lost her battle with AIDS in 1988. Fearing that Jake's life was also in danger, Elizabeth rose to action. She approached her close friends, Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis, for help in creating a foundation that would raise money for pediatric HIV/AIDS research.
The Pediatric AIDS Foundation had one critical mission: to bring hope to children with HIV and AIDS. Elizabeth made her first trip to Washington, D.C. in 1988, when she met with President and Mrs. Reagan, representatives at National Institutes of Health, and members of Congress. In 1989, the Foundation held its first fundraiser and awarded its first grant for research on the immune dysfunctions in children living with HIV. Dozens more Washington trips and research grants followed.
Elizabeth lost her own battle with AIDS in 1994, and to honor her legacy, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation was renamed the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Under that name, the Foundation has become the leading global nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs.
Elizabeth’s legacy lives on in her son, Jake, who today is a healthy young adult, and travels the world advocating to finish what his mother started.
Elizabeth’s story is made especially poignant in the musings of our Lesotho Country Director, Dr. Leopold Buhendwa. He recently wrote this message to you, our supporters:
“Lesotho, which we call the 'Kingdom in the Sky,' is one of several places in Africa where the legacy of Elizabeth Glaser is transforming the country. At the national level, Ministry of Health officials credit the Foundation for helping to make lifesaving prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services accessible to the majority of families in Lesotho. At the community level, men, women, and children living in mountain villages more than 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) high are inspired when our staff members travel there to share Elizabeth’s story. While visiting one of these communities, I once met a young mother enrolled in our PMTCT program who tearfully asked if she could send a letter to Elizabeth Glaser. She was inspired by Elizabeth’s story and she didn’t understand that Elizabeth passed away many years ago. When I asked the woman why she was crying, she said that she was moved to learn that Elizabeth, a wealthy woman from America, did so much to help poor women like her, who have nothing left to live for but their children.
Thanks to stories like these, as well as the positive spirit and commitment of all my colleagues in Lesotho, I feel proud to belong to the Foundation. My only frustration is that I have too few opportunities to teach others about Elizabeth’s legacy. I’d like to shout her story to all of humanity, and inspire them to join us in our mission to create a generation free of HIV.”
We are only able to carry on Elizabeth’s lifesaving work with the support of generous donors like you. Thank you for choosing to give to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Please stay up-to-date with the Foundation’s programs, or learn more about Elizabeth’s inspiring story at www.pedaids.org.
Greetings to our supporters!
We are so grateful for your continued commitment to our shared mission of eliminating pediatric AIDS. As you know, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a global leader in the fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS, and our successes so far would not have been possible without the help of supporters like you. Working at more than 5,600 sites in 15 countries, the Foundation has reached more than 14.7 million women with services to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies through our innovative program implementation, research and advocacy initiatives.
A CNN camera crew films Potso Seoete and his horse. (Photo: EGPAF)
As we have shared with you previously, Lesotho, a small country landlocked by South Africa, has one of the highest rates of HIV prevalence in the world. Also called "The Kingdom in the Sky," this beautiful country is comprised of 10 districts, many of which are extremely mountainous. Coupled with its complex and difficult landscape, it is incredibly challenging to reach remote communities of children, women, and families in need of HIV prevention, care, and treatment services. As donors, you supported a project designed especially to meet this community’s unique needs: employing couriers to traverse rugged terrain on horseback to transport blood samples and medicines in areas otherwise unreachable.
Since our innovative pony program was featured on an ABC series on global health, our Lesotho pony program has been spotlighted by a variety of media outlets, including a CNN report featuring Potso Seoete, our Foundation pony courier who delivers lifesaving drugs and test results to communities in the rugged highlands of Mokhotlong, Lesotho’s most mountainous district. We would like to share Potso’s story with you:
Potso prepares his Basotho pony for another day's journey. (Photo: Jon Hrusa/EPA)
“My name is Potso, and I’m 30 years old. I live in Mokhotlong District, Lesotho. My village, called Polomiti, is high in the mountains. The nearest town, Mapholaneng, is 30 minutes away on horseback. The weather in Mokhotlong is very difficult. There is heavy rain in summer and lots of snow in winter. When the weather is bad, it is nearly impossible to travel anywhere by car or motorbike. The only way to get around is on foot or horseback. Three years ago, I heard that the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation was looking for horse owners to ride to and from health clinics in the mountains. The Foundation needed help transporting blood samples from these clinics to the laboratory at Mokhotlong Hospital. I did not own a horse then, so I saved money and purchased one for M3000 (about $400). I became a rider in the Foundation-supported “Horse-riding for Health” program. Several days a week, I get up early and prepare my horse, Rooikat, for the journey to Molika-liko Clinic. We leave at 7 a.m. and ride four hours through the mountains. When I arrive at the clinic, the nurse gives me the blood samples drawn that morning, and I put them into an insulated pouch. Many of the samples are collected from patients living with HIV who need to have their blood tested so they can begin taking antiretroviral medications (ARVs). Some are pregnant women who need ARVs to prevent their babies from being born with HIV. Once I’ve collected the samples, I ride Rooikat down the mountain to the main road, where a motorbike rider is waiting. I give him the samples, and he takes them to the laboratory at Mokhotlong Hospital, which is about 45 minutes away. Without me and Rooikat, the nurses at Molika-liko Clinic could not draw blood when the weather is bad. The blood samples must reach the laboratory within six hours after they are drawn, and only horse riders can get to the clinic and back during snow and rain. Even during good weather, there aren’t enough trucks and motorbikes available to drive to Molika-liko, which is why I work year-round. The money I earn through Horse-riding for Health is my only source of income. I use the money to buy food for my wife, my two small children, my wife’s family, and Rooikat. Being a horse rider also improves my standing in the community. Horses are a very important part of our culture, and owning a horse has earned me increased respect from my friends and neighbors. They help take care of my horse, and I tell them about HIV and the work that the Foundation is doing in Lesotho. It is good that I’m able to help people who are ill and need ARVs. I’m proud that Rooikat and I are helping to save lives.”
Potso is one of four horse riders working for the Foundation in Mokhotlong District. Thanks to the hard work of Potso, his colleagues and to you, our supporters, the Foundation is now reaching 100% of Mokhotlong District’s population with HIV prevention, care, and treatment services!
However, despite this amazing progress in Lesotho, more than 1,000 children around the world are still newly infected with HIV every day. Every single one of these infections is preventable and by working together, we can eliminate pediatric AIDS in Lesotho and around the world. Thank you again for your generous support, and to stay up-to-date with the Foundation’s work, please visit us at pedaids.org.
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