DURBAN - British singer, Sir Elton John donated R50 million to the KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital, currently under construction on Durban South Beach.
The money, raised during the Elton John Aids Foundation dinner recently will be used to construct a specialised Centre for Adolescent Health, said Dr. Arthi Ramkissoon, CEO of the Children’s Hospital on Tuesday.
She said the specialised centre will address the unique medical and psycho-social challenges that young people face.
Ramkissoon explained that the donation came after Sir Elton visited Durban last year.
“We invited Sir Elton to visit the children’s hospital when he visited Durban for the International AIDS Conference in July 2016. We did not expect him to come to visit, given the short notice, but he did. He spent a long time talking our young patients and listening to our vision for the hospital. I think he understood the needs of our youth and what an immense difference the funding would make to the lives of thousands of young people on KZN,” Ramkissoon said.
The money was raised after a series of dinners organised by the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“Approximately R50 million was raised at the fundraising dinner held by the Elton John AIDS Foundation in London on 22nd June,” Ramkissoon said.
She said they had so far received R70 million from the KZN Department of Health towards infrastructure costs and the department had also committed to cover the operational costs, including staffing, laboratory and drug costs once the building is completed.
The KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital was known as the Addington Children’s Hospital was opened in 1931 for all races but racial divisions forced its closure in the 1980s.
The hospital which included seven buildings withered away - shattered windows, collapsed roofs, nestling pigeons and the homeless made it their home.
The first building of the Children’s Hospital was built and reopened in July 2013, which includes a centre for HIV-positive teenagers.
On 24 June 2017, the Elton John AIDS Foundation wrote this on their Facebook page:
“A huge thank you to our loyal and generous supporters who helped us raise over £3 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS at the Woodside Gallery Dinner on Thursday night!
The money raised will go towards supporting people living with HIV around the world, particularly adolescents through a new HIV Adolescent Treatment Centre at the KwaZulu Natal Children's Hospital in Durban, South Africa ...”
Elton John has been involved in the fight against AIDS, since the Elton John AIDS Foundation was opened in 1993, which exists to empower those infected, affected and at risk of HIV/AIDS; ease their physical, emotional and financial hardship, to enable them to improve their quality of life, live with dignity and be self-determined.