|VIENNA, AUSTRIA (June 1, 2018) – The pre-celebratory events leading up to the 25th Anniversary of Life Ball kicked off on Thursday, May 31 in Vienna with the Swarovski Crystal of Hope award presentation to Oscar® and Golden Globe winner Charlize Theron on behalf of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. This year’s Swarovski Crystal of Hope was presented by Helene von Damm in the name of the Swarovski Foundation. Federal Minister for EU, Art, Culture, and Media Gernot Blümel and Life Ball chairman and organizer Gery Keszler also participated in the presentation.
Since 2005, the Swarovski Crystal of Hope has been presented to projects that distinguish themselves with innovative approaches to fight HIV/AIDS. The Swarovski Crystal of Hope is also an important tool to create awareness, as the respective projects highlight the scope of the multilayered HIV/AIDS problem. In previous years, the Swarovski Crystal of Hope was presented to organizations including Prince Seeiso von Lesotho von Sentebale, Safe Water and AIDS Projects (SWAP), The Girl Effect, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Clinton Foundation and more.
On Friday, June 1, Charlize Theron’s visit to Austria continued in Salzburg where she joined the riders of amfAR’s EpicRide to Life Ball for brunch at a private residence at the invitation of the Ropac Gallery. The riders included Adrien Brody (Actor, Peaky Blinders), Ian Bohen (Actor, Teen Wolf), JR Bourne (Actor, Teen Wolf), Michiel Huisman (Actor, Game of Thrones), Gilles Marini (Actor, Switched at Birth), Katee Sackhoff (Actress, Another Life), and more.
The idea of amfAR’s EpicRide to Life Ball was inspired by the success of the “LifeRide for amfAR”, an annual motorcycle tour that takes it riders through several major cities in the US. The tour consists of several media events at the sponsors’ locations along the way. This Life Ride has been raising awareness for amfAR’s fight against HIV/AIDS since 2010 and generates financial funds for research.
Earlier in the day, the EpicRiders and Life Ball chairman and organizer Gery Keszler welcomed the Austrian Airlines’ Life Ball plane at its touchdown at Salzburg Airport. Salzburg, renowned for being the setting for the iconic film “The Sound of Music,” was the first stop in celebration of Life Ball’s theme ‘An Homage to The Sound of Music.’ After the brief stop, the Austrian Flight OS 1088 flight from New York continued on to Vienna just in time for the Life Ball weekend and all of its events. Among the nearly 200 VIPs on the plane included Caitlyn Jenner, Kelly Osbourne, Patti LaBelle, Kim Petras, Nats Getty, Gigi Gorgeous, Yasmine Petty, Jeannie Mai, and more. Austrian Airlines specially branded a Boeing 767 for Life Ball 2018 with financial support by Wien Tourismus.
The 25th Anniversary of Life Ball will broadcast LIVE on FashionTV, a global leader in fashion and luxury lifestyle TV programming, starting at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT on Saturday, June 2. North American viewers can watch Life Ball live through FashionTV’s FTV.com, FTV+ App, FTV Facebook and FTV YouTube.
For additional photos, please visit: https://media.lifeplus.org.
ABOUT LIFE BALL
Life Ball was the first AIDS charity event worldwide to take place in a governmental building, the Vienna City Hall, which still remains the ball’s venue. Since its premiere in 1993, Life Ball has been actively fighting the taboo of HIV and AIDS in society. Thus, life is celebrated at a glamorous party every year during Life Ball. Furthermore, discrimination and intolerance are rejected, and a loud signal for the fight against HIV and AIDS is transmitted, which may be heard far beyond national boundaries.
Life Ball has been organized by AIDS LIFE, now named LIFE+, an independent non-profit association founded in 1992. Its mission: to raise public awareness for HIV and AIDS, to light a beacon of solidarity with people affected by HIV/AIDS and to generate as much funds as possible to support help-projects in the world’s most affected regions.
The Know Your Status Campaign is also a focal point of LIFE+ year-round initiatives. The campaign’s goal is to make knowing one’s immune status as natural as knowing one’s blood type. Only those who regularly check their immune status can get timely treatment or appropriate preventive care and stop unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Through Life Ball and additional yearly activities, LIFE+ works to raise funds to help those impacted by and living with HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma and discrimination.
As Austria’s biggest fund-raiser for HIV/AIDS projects, LIFE+ and its work has gained an important status on an international level as well. In the report Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2016 by Funders Concerned About AIDS, LIFE+ was ranked 13th of all European fundraisers.