This holiday season, Pace University's Department of Performing Arts will be giving a gift to an outstanding charity organization in Manhattan: Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids. They are putting up a brand new adaptation of the classic A Christmas Carol and along with this new piece; they are also trying something else new. This show has inspired them to practice what they preach.
Just like Scrooge decided to give money to the less fortunate after his eye opening journey with the three ghosts, director Grant Kretchik and his cast of over 40 have decided to fundraise after each of their eight shows and donate the money to Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids.
BC/ EFA is an organization that has raised over $195 million dollars since 1988 to provide people living with AIDS, as well as other critical illnesses, necessary services and care. "This was the first organization that was even mentioned as an option for our fundraising," says Tommy McKiernan, a cast member. "It's a charity that was born right out of the theater community and benefits a cause that is a major health problem not only in the United States, but all around the world. It was a no brainer." The viral disease, known as AIDS, surfaced in 1969 and despite its outrageous death toll each year, there is still no definite cure. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and is currently the largest funder of cure research for AIDS in the world. The problem is, as told by www.hivandhepatitis.com,
"The NIH has received the same amount of money to do its work every year since 2003, and because of inflation it lost more than 13% of its annual spending power by 2009 due to prices going up and the amount of money they receive staying about the same. President Obama's 2011 proposed budget would add only 3% to the overall NIH budget, which is peanuts."
Thus, organizations like Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids are working harder than ever to help fund cure research and help those waiting for that treatment to be found. According to UNAIDS estimates, in 2009 about 1.8 million people died from AIDS worldwide. Another 2.6 million people became newly infected and now there are approximately 33.3 million people living with HIV; and those are just the ones who know that they have the virus. HIV tests are scarce in third world countries and often, the virus doesn't show symptoms for a good while after the infection has occurred. Other times, patients are misdiagnosed with common illnesses like the flu because the symptoms they do show can be fever, diarrhea, sore throat, dry couch, rashes, etc.
HIV/ AIDS is a rapidly growing disease that is plaguing the world and if we don't help the government by raising money to fund the research ourselves, then who knows when it will cease consuming millions of lives. You can help by donating to Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids at www.broadwaycares.org or any of the HIV/ AIDS charity organizations. All it took was one person to contact BC/ EFA from Pace University to organize a major effort against the AIDS crisis. It could be you.
***Pace University's A Christmas Carol will be performed December 8- 12 at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at 1 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038. For tickets, e-mail email@example.com
Article by Bethany Xan Jeffery