A Time for Heroes 2012

June is a special time at the Foundation, as we prepare for our annual A Time For Heroes Celebrity Picnic in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Glaser launched this event in 1989, and it has gone on to raise over $33 million for pediatric AIDS research and the Foundation’s lifesaving global HIV/AIDS programs.

This year’s picnic is coming up Sunday, June 3, and once again promises fun for the entire family. There will be games, crafts, food and music, and scheduled appearances by celebrities such as Foundation Ambassador Nigel Barker, Mark Wahlberg, and Marcia Cross – as well as a special musical performance by Ingrid Michaelson. 

Elizabeth Glaser always called supporters “Heroes” for the support and visibility they lent to the cause of eliminating pediatric AIDS worldwide.

In anticipation of A Time For Heroes, we’d like to take a moment to honor a few of our heroes from this year.

Some are helping to educate others about how to protect themselves and their children against HIV/AIDS. Others are researching new tools and methods to eliminate mother-to-child transmission and keep mothers and babies safe and healthy. And others are generously supporting efforts to ensure that no child is born with HIV.

They include:

The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company is one of the Foundation’s most valued supporters, serving as a title and leading sponsor of the A Time for Heroes Celebrity Picnic. In addition to providing monetary support for the Foundation’s work, Disney has also brought its unique magic to the event with activities, games, crafts, Disney talent and performances by Radio Disney.

Magic Johnson: He was a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, and a three-time MVP. But on November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson faced his biggest challenge yet: disclosing his HIV status. More than twenty years have passed since “the announcement,” but Magic has continued to be a voice for people living with HIV/AIDS. This year, ESPN Films premiered “The Announcement,” a documentary about the impact of Magic’s advocacy. Click here for more on the documentary and on Magic’s friendship with Elizabeth Glaser.

Dr. Lynne Mofenson: Dr. Mofenson has spent the past twenty years working toward the elimination of pediatric HIV/AIDS. As chief of the Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Mofenson studies pediatric and maternal HIV/AIDS and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). She took the lead in working with the CDC, FDA, and Medicare to provide PMTCT to women in the United States in the 1990s, and is now leading efforts to scale up PMTCT globally. Click here to learn more about this award-winning researcher and scientist.  

Florence Ngobeni-Allen: After losing her baby girl Nomthunzi to AIDS, Florence Ngobeni-Allen became a champion for women and children living with HIV/AIDS in her native South Africa. She counsels women about HIV and PMTCT, and helps educate whole communities about the epidemic. Her work as a Foundation Ambassador and her willingness and bravery in sharing her story inspires everyone she meets. Click here to learn more about her life and her message.

It’s a privilege to work with so many heroes who are dedicated to fighting for mothers and children.

As Elizabeth Glaser said, “People say they care, but actions are what save lives.”

Thank you to the Walt Disney Company, Magic Johnson, Dr. Lynne Mofenson, and Florence Ngobeni-Allen – for your courage and spirit, and particularly for your actions in the fight to end HIV/AIDS.

Jane Coaston is the Foundation’s Media Relations Coordinator in Washington, D.C.