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A Chinese proverb says: “A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” The Austrian Gery Keszler took his first step in his fight against AIDS in 1993, by founding the Life Ball for the first time. In those days, public awareness and financial support for AIDS were still in their infancy. Now, 20 years later, Life Ball has become one of the most prominent and biggest AIDS charity events in the world. On May 19th, Life Ball is embracing its 20th anniversary in Vienna, expecting international guest stars and politicians, such as Milla Jovovich and Bill Clinton.
Life Ball is organized by the non-profit organization AIDS LIFE, whose founders were Gery Keszler and Dr. Torgom Petrosian. Since 1993, the organization has been dedicated to supporting national and international non-profit organizations dealing with AIDS issues, such as the Clinton Foundation. Its chairman, Bill Clinton, is representing the Gala concert “Red Ribbon Celebration Concert – United in Difference” at the Vienna Burgtheater. With the collected funds, Clinton is hoping to reduce the number of HIV-infected babies in Uganda and Sambia.
Auctions, events and speeches are generated at Life Ball every year, hoping to reach a high amount of donations, and moreover, to emphasize social responsibility and raise awareness in the public for those who are affected by AIDS. Life Ball has already become a symbol of acceptance, solidarity and tolerance, and an important voice of and for the affected minority. “HIV and AIDS can affect everybody regardless of gender, age, social status or sexual orientation. This is the reason why it is of the utmost importance to continue fighting the virus.” – Life Ball’s vision and mission
Every year, before the official opening ceremony in front of the Vienna City Hall, the traditional event’s fashion show takes place, making room for famous fashion designers presenting their inspiration from topics of Life Ball. This year, the editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, will be the patron of “VOGUE Italia hosts the 20th Anniversary Life Ball Fashion Show presented by MINI.” A retrospective fashion show is being expected on the Red Ribbon catwalk in front of the Vienna City Hall, presenting the most remarkable looks from the last two decades.
Last year, Life Ball managed to collect around two million euros for AIDS projects around the world. With its combination of charming Viennese ball tradition and a modern, extravagant and provocative brand, Life Ball is yet again on its way to realize its mission and vision.
Image Courtesy of Life Ball