ActionAIDS held a benefit event on Thursday, February 27, 2014. The name of this event was the Glamsino Royale and it surely was fabulous! MHIB was there to capture moments and enjoy a wonderful evening! ActionAIDS is an organization based in Philadelphia, PA with a mission to create an AIDS-free generation through education , testing, treatment and support for those affected by HIV. I am a volunteer for the organization and I must say that it is a fulfilling role.
The guest speaker of the night was Project Runway All-Star’s Viktor Luna. Viktor gave a moving speech about his upbringing, how he found out he was HIV positive and how thankful he was for all of the support he has had along the way.
Viktor was just a normal 20-something year old living in New York City, doing things a lot of things that 20-somethings do. Sometimes when we are young, we feel invincible, but unfortunately, Viktor got a call from his doctor instructing him to come in for a face-to-face meeting. Viktor admits that he was known as the “paranoid” one of his friends, so he automatically assumed he was HIV positive. This time, his worrisome manner proved to be true. He admits to feeling like his life was over.
He had just met somone very special and believed that he could be in love. How would he face this person? How would they react?
As time went on, Viktor became more educated on HIV and AIDS. He learned about the treatment and eventually, he realized that he did indeed have a purpose on this earth. He realized that although HIV requires a lot of daily medication, his life would continue as normal.
For all you hopeless romantics out there: Viktor revealed his status to the person he was dating immediately after he found out. Thankfully, the person he was dating was super supportive and they are still together to this day… SEVEN (count ’em!) YEARS and counting!
Viktor auditioned for Project Runway and was asked to join the cast after his first audition, when many others audition for multiple seasons before landing a role as cast member on the popular fashion design show. He was a finalist on his season and was invited back for Project Runway All-Stars a few seasons later. This was when he decided that he was going to be 100% himself; he chose to use the show as a platform to reveal his status, but more importantly educate people and support those who may feel alone.
Viktor’s story is one of courage and by speaking out, he touches so many lives. He is a voice for many people living with HIV because of his celebrity status and I am proud of him for opening up and helping others.
Overall, the event was wonderful! Obviously, because of its theme, there were many casino-style tables set up; attendees played blackjack and other games. The DJ was amazing and the food was even better!
If you are thinking of getting involved in your community, there are many volunteer opportunities available everywhere. Just find something you’re passionate about and take action!
Photos: 1- Glamsino Royale Attendees; 2- Guests enjoying the event games; 3- Kevin Burns, Executive Director of ActionAIDS; 4- Viktor Luna giving his speech; 5- Glamsino Royale Attendees who were kind enough to pose for two pictures (thank you both :-)) 6- Glamsino Royale Attendees