In London, music icon Annie Lennox warmed up a cold night at the official launch of mothers2mothers in Europe. Before an audience of 130 people including Livia and Colin Firth and friends of m2m old and new, Lennox performed a stunning acoustic piano set including a rendition of her famed classic “Sweet Dreams”.
However, the evening was about much more than music. Lennox, a longstanding AIDS activist and m2m supporter, spoke with eloquence about the services that mothers2mothers provides to women living with HIV in Africa. “There is an invaluable empathy that mothers feel towards other mothers living in the shadow of HIV and with our funding and support; they can help women like them wherever medical assistance is scarce,” said Lennox.
By the end of the evening, guests left with more than just the memories of a wonderful evening to keep them warm. They had raised over £200,000 for m2m– thanks in part to a very generous silent auction and a very lively auction of handwritten lyrics!
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, actor John Stamos hosted “Helping Change Happen: An Evening of Music, Merriment, and Making a Difference” at West Hollywood’s acclaimed Red O restaurant to benefit m2m. On hand to lend support for the evening were Stamos’ former Full House cast-mates as well as m2m Site Coordinator Patience Kweyama, who spoke poignantly about her experience as a mother living with HIV and working with pregnant women and new mothers in Durban, South Africa.
Patience says she was nervous before she went to stand in front of the crowd; the house was filled with “high profile” individuals she never imagined she would meet. “I spoke to them about the importance of their support to women in Africa and Africa’s future; its children. I tried to make them understand that elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is no one man’s task-but a task of every living person in the world. In me they saw a living testimony that programs like m2m work.”
Stamos’ friend and his love for children inspired him to “help change happen”. Says Stamos, “My dear friend Debbie Bickerstaff is really involved with mothers2mothers and she asked me to host it and I knew that she wouldn’t take no for an answer.” Debbie Bickerstaff is one of mothers2mothers long standing supporters and an m2m board member.
Later in the evening, AMERICA band members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell took the stage with John Stamos on the drums. Guests enjoyed a live performance of their most memorable hits including “A Horse with No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” and “Sister Golden Hair.”
If you would like to support m2m’s fundraising efforts in the U.S. please contact Robin Smalley ([email protected]).
mothers2mothers opened an office in London in 2011 in order to cement and build upon our European awareness raising and fundraising presence. New donors include Edelman and BUPA. Emma France ([email protected]) would be delighted to discuss ways in which you and your networks can help support our efforts in Europe: raising awareness in order to mobilize the resources we need to eliminate pediatric AIDS by 2015.