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Elton John celebrity gala raises $6m for Kenyan HIV testing

Emma Powys Maurice July 26, 2019
Elton John

Taron Egerton and Elton John auctioning a Gucci jacket worn by Egerton in the film Rocketman (Dave Benett)

Elton John hosted a celebrity-packed fundraising gala in the south of France on Wednesday (July 24), raising over $6 million for HIV testing in Kenya.

The singer took a break from his farewell world tour to host the glamorous event in Cap D’Antibes, France, alongside his husband David Furnish.

Among the celebrities flocking to the fundraiser were Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, actress Joan Collins and Taron Egerton, who plays John in the biopic Rocketman.

“We’re here for the Elton John AIDS foundation, our first south of France fundraiser, hopefully to raise money for people who desperately need it in our fight against HIV and AIDS,” John told Reuters.

Elton John David Furnish
Elton John and husband David Furnish dressed to impress at the fundraising gala (PA)

Rocketman props among items auctioned

More than $6 million was raised, in part through auctions of a luxury-edition Bentley car, tickets to John’s world tour, and a Gucci jacket and autographed piano used in Rocketman.

The money will support a program to provide HIV self-test kits to 400,000 young men in Kenya.

Guests enjoyed a performance of “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. He was then joined on stage by John for a performance of “I’m Still Standing” and “Rocketman.”

Elton John’s dedication to tackling HIV/AIDS

The Elton John AIDS Foundation has donated some $450 million to projects since it was founded in 1992, according to foundation officials.

Much of the charity’s funds come from donations made at annual parties and auctions in Los Angeles and New York.

In 2017, the Foundation marked 25 year anniversary with a huge star-studded New York show.

Guests and speakers included President Bill Clinton, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Sting, Alec Baldwin, Sharon Stone and Neil Patrick Harris.

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin singing “I Say a Little Prayer For You” at Foundation’s 25th anniversary gala (Theo Wargo/Getty)

Last year the foundation announced a MenStar Coalition that aims to expand diagnosis and treatment of HIV infections, including a push for HIV self-testing particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prince Harry is working alongside John on the project, continuing the campaigning of his mother Princess Diana, who transformed global attitudes to HIV/AIDS.

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