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In Tens: For the Children

In Tens: For the Children

[ 10 ] Elizabeth Glaser's legacy and passion grew out of the personal tragedy of the death of her daughter, Ariel, from AIDS and her heroic efforts to save the life of her son, Jake. She was dealt a very difficult hand, but with her, the glass was always half full. Her legacy continues to inspire and give hope to people everywhere living with the virus. [ 9 ] She brought attention to the fact that HIV affects children differently than it does adults and that living with the virus affects families in a unique way. [ 8 ] She decided to become a very public face of HIV when the stigma surrounding the virus was still very strong. She educated and persuaded presidents, lawmakers, scientists, and celebrities to address the emergency. [ 7 ] She always maintained her sense of fun and celebrated life's successes. A tequila toast to celebrate major accomplishments is a tradition the foundation still continues. [ 6 ] Elizabeth always put children first. Her unique vision of raising money with a fun family event was the impetus for the A Time for Heroes carnival in Los Angeles and Kids for Kids in New York, both of which continue to bring joy to children each year. [ 5 ] Nearly two decades ago Elizabeth was the first person to go to Congress and successfully lobby for pediatric AIDS research funding. Today the foundation continues to be a voice for children in Washington, D.C., and around the world. [ 4 ] Elizabeth created a community of scientific researchers--none existed before--to collaborate and tackle the issue of pediatric AIDS. [ 3 ] Thanks in part to Elizabeth's pioneering efforts in sparking pediatric research, scientific discoveries have reduced the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the United States to less than 2%. [ 2 ] Expanding upon Elizabeth's legacy, the foundation was one of the first to bring prevention of mother-to-child transmission services to the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, most in sub-Saharan Africa. [ 1 ] Driven by Elizabeth's personal conviction that every child deserves a lifetime, the foundation that started as three moms around a kitchen table is now working around the globe to give children living with HIV a chance for a healthy future. About Susie Deegen: 'After Elizabeth Glaser's daughter, Ariel, lost her battle with AIDS in 1988, Elizabeth rose to action. Fully aware that son Jake's life was also in danger, she approached her close friends Susan DeLaurentis and me for help in creating a foundation that would serve to raise money for basic HIV research. The foundation had one critical mission: to bring hope to children with AIDS. Few researchers were focusing on issues specific to pediatric HIV, there were no drugs available for children, and the infection rate was rapidly rising. Glaser, DeLaurentis, and I sought to change that harsh reality. Twenty years later, I continue to serve on the board of directors for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.'
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