French first lady helps Hadassah in int'l fight against AIDS

Proceeds of fundraiser to finance AIDS research and efforts to train African doctors to perform circumcision on African men.

Carla Bruni 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Carla Bruni 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the first lady of France, has joined the efforts of the Hadassah Medical Organization and Hadassah-France to help raise money for AIDS research, treatment of HIV/AIDS patients at Jerusalem's Hadassah-University Medical Center, and an outreach program in African countries. Bruni was the guest of honor last Thursday night at a Paris gala dinner for Hadassah-France (now marking its 25th anniversary) to raise money for AIDS prevention, education and treatment. The former model and actress, who is goodwill ambassador of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, visited the new pediatric oncology department at Hadassah's hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem last June. Proceeds of a Christie's auction of art works will go to finance AIDS research and efforts to train African doctors to perform circumcision on African men, which would lower the risk of AIDS transmission. The money will also aid a voluntary project in Ethiopia by Prof. Dan Engelhard, Hadassah professor of pediatric infectious disease. Over the last five years, Ethiopia has reduced the death rate among AIDS orphans from 25 percent to only 1%. It is the first Israeli-Ethiopian initiative to provide lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy to orphans with the HIV virus. The gala was held under the patronage of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also attended the event, showing the growing importance of the international community's role in fundraising. "We are thrilled to have the support of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in the global fight against AIDS. Her partnership in the gala is indicative of a wider fundraising campaign for Hadassah's hospitals in Israel and the promotion of ensuring medical care for all," said Nancy Falchuk, national president of the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America. The president of Hadassah-France, Dr. Sydney Ohana, hosted the event at the Pavillon d'Armenonville, which was attended not only by Falchuk, but also by Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, director-general of the Hadassah Medical Organization; Israel's ambassador to France; and leading AIDS specialists from around the world.