Thursday, 7 November 2013

Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI) Launched in London, New York

GAFFI was formally launched at the Houses of Parliament yesterday on the 6th of November during a glamorous event that featured world-renowned actor Rupert Everett performing several poetic works in support of the aims of GAFFI and the support and music of Singer/Songwriter Katie Melua.

Katie's music has sold 4 million albums so far, won several awards and memorably sang "Too Much Love Will Kill You" with Brian May at the 46664 concert in George, South Africa for Nelson Mandela 's HIV charity.

One of the poems performed by Rupert Everett was written with the Patients Support Group at the National Aspergillosis Centre as part of their creative writing project run by Poet-in-Residence Caroline Hawkridge. It is based on the theme of 'Hope' and was inspired by the name of the daughter of one of our doctors.

The launch in London began with a welcome from Paul Goggins MP, in who's constituency resides the National Aspergillosis Centre, University Hospital of South Manchester. GAFFI is about raising the awareness and funding for the need to be able to diagnose and treat all fungal infections throughout the world but aspergillosis is prominent in ongoing illness as a result of TB and in severe asthma (contributing to 1 350 000 deaths every year) and in the loss of sight caused by infection after damage to the eyes of tens of millions of people every year.

AIDS is an illness with very high public awareness and high levels of funding to attempt to treat infection with the HIV virus, but did you know many of the 1 350 000 deaths every year caused by fungi are AIDS sufferers?

We were then treated to a stunning presentation using the lyrics of Katie Melua's song 'I'd love to kill you (with a kiss)" to evoke a series of images of the suffering caused by fungal infection.

Most memorably two accounts of what it is like to live with a fungal disease were related by patients themselves. Gail Iddon and Woodrow Maitland-Brown shared their compelling stories of how beneficial access to good diagnosis and treatment can be when suffering from a fungal infection. Gail and Woodrow were great examples of how effective treatment can improve quality of life.

Professor of Global Health at Manchester University David Denning outlined the aims of GAFFI and made the striking (and very shocking) point that 150 people die from a fungal infection somewhere in the world every hour of every day, many more than that are severely disabled with life changing symptoms. In many poorer parts of the world this is highly preventable for a large proportion of cases (up to 75%).

The launch in London was brought to a close by Lord Turnberg (former president of the Royal College of Physicians).

David Perlin launches GAFFI in New York

In New York the launch was led and performed by Professor David Perlin, David Warnock (ex-CDC) and Liise-Anne Pirofski (Albert Einstein) to a packed audience.


We wish GAFFI well on its journey to make life better for many millions of people throughout the world.

Further information on GAFFI and this event can be found on their website


Katie Melua "I'd Love to Kill You"



Katie Melua singing "Too Much Love Will Kill You" at Nelson Mandela's Charity concert, 2005


Information

GAFFI Leaflet - feel free to print out and distribute

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