Home > Culture > Legacy: Taylor Helped Raise $300 Million and Awareness for AIDS

Legacy: Taylor Helped Raise $300 Million and Awareness for AIDS

March 27, 2011

What it comes down to, ultimately, is love. How can anything bad come out of love? The bad stuff comes out of mistrust, misunderstanding and, God knows, from hate and from ignorance.

– Elizabeth Taylor

I am of the age where I am working continually on my legacy. I do not want to be a human being who simply took up space. I believe in random acts of kindness. I believe in sharing what little I have with others. I believe in imparting knowledge that is helpful. I believe in fighting injustice and exploitation. I believe compassion will be the salvation of the human species. When we work from a place of compassion, many things become possible.

I read a good article about Elizabeth Taylor’s legacy on the Huffington Post. I wanted to share this short piece with my readers. This is dedicated to my friends Dennis and Adam.

She got involved with AIDS activism in 1985 and worked tirelessly to raise money and awareness for the rest of her life, said Craig Thompson, executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles, where Taylor held early fundraisers for AIDS research.

“There have been a lot of incredible warriors in the fight, but she will stand for history on a podium above everyone else,” he said, adding that Taylor had seen firsthand how her friend, Rock Hudson, had lost his battle with AIDS.

In 1985, when the government had done little to educate people about the disease and nurses were afraid to deliver food trays to AIDS patients in hospitals, Taylor, along with a group of physicians, helped establish the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).

“This was long before celebrities routinely performed or worked with charities… and the cause she selected was a disease Americans were frightened about,” Thompson said. “It wasn’t just as if she took the risk of attaching her celebrity status to a cause. She picked the most controversial cause at the time. But she was like, ‘I have friends who are dying and I have to do something, and what I can do is help raise money and help raise awareness.”

Taylor, as chairwoman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, visited Capitol Hill to demand that the government live up to its promise to spend nearly $1 billion a year to help people with AIDS with the Ryan White Care Act. She and other stars befriended Ryan White, a teenager from Indiana who, as a hemophiliac, got HIV through a contaminated blood transfusion, was expelled from school because of his infection and became one of the disease’s most prominent early victims.

AmfAR leaders on Wednesday called Taylor “one of the most inspirational figures in the fight against AIDS.”

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