AIDS expert will speak at fund-raiser |

AIDS expert will speak at fund-raiser

Noted AIDS researchist Neil Flynn, M.D. will be the featured speaker at a fund-raiser brunch to take place Aug. 5. Beginning at noon, the event honors Kathleen Farrell for her more than 20 years of volunteer and charitable work. Many know Farrell as the executive director of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce.

“Many know her for her humanity and humor,” said Sue Barton, Farrell’s longtime friend and business associate.

“Kathy’s sense of charity is very hands-on,” said Patty Timmens, Douglas County librarian. “So much of what she does to enhance the quality of life for South Shore residents goes mostly unknown.”

The program following the brunch will feature Flynn, who is the professor of clinical medicine and director of AIDS and Related Disorders at the University of California Medical Center, Davis.

This will be Flynn’s first presentation to the South Shore general public since 1996. He will present the current status of, and recent advances in, the treatment of HIV and AIDS.

Proceeds from the event will primarily benefit Sierra Foothills AIDS Foundation, a nonprofit that provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS at the entire south shore of Lake Tahoe.

“Jeff Cowen, S.F.A.F’s executive director, and Maxine Alper, director of client services, have been enthusiastic throughout the planning,” said Don Regis-Bilar, another event organizer.

In keeping with the “Think Globally, Act Locally” theme of the event, 15 percent of the net proceeds will benefit the Association of Romanians Against AIDS with offices in Bucharest and Piatra-Neamt, Romania.

In June Regis-Bilar visited Romania as the guest of Miheala Vatavoiu, the executive director of ARAS.

“Hospital conditions were bleak and the insufficient supply of AIDS drugs was demoralizing.” he said.

Unlike the United States, in Romania AIDS has primarily affected children who were infected by contaminated blood supplies and needles.

“The children had marvelous spirit,” Regis-Bilar said. “We are hoping that we can encourage pharmaceutical companies to recognize the Romanian plight and provide and provide relief. Additionally, the money raised at Lake Tahoe will specifically assist in ARAS being able to improve hospital conditions for children living with AIDS.”

Timmens said, “An event honoring Kathy Farrell is long overdue and AIDS, as a cause, is something she has long-championed.”

Following the success of last September’s fund-raiser for Meg Kochendorfer and Paul Imbruglio via Ordinary People with Extraordinary Needs, the same organizers are behind this event under auspices of the Friends of Patrick Bennett.

Local educator Cindy Cowen also will be honored by receiving The Friends of Patrick Bennett Humanitarian Award. Cowen is being recognized for her work with South Shore school children in bringing awareness to AIDS and for her contribution to the Elizabeth Glaser AIDS Foundation.

The event will take place outdoors in the perennial garden of Regis-Bilar’s home, 3071 Sacramento Ave. The brunch will begin at noon with Celtic harp music provided by Ann Roos. A mixer will follow at 1 p.m. with the program featuring Flynn beginning at 1:30 p.m.

A silent auction will take place at the front of the residence. Admission to the silent auction is free of charge and the general public is encouraged to view the vast array of donated items. Auctions items are sought.

Tickets are $25 for both the brunch and program or $15 for the program featuring Flynn only. All contributions are fully tax deductible. For information, ticket reservations or to donate an auction item call (530) 544-6959.

For more information about Sierra Foothills AIDS Foundation call Maxine Alper at (530) 542-2991.

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