Elizabeth Taylor donation to N.O. has helped battle AIDS in the city
by Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News wwltv.com
Posted on March 23, 2011 at 4:37 PM
Updated Wednesday, Mar 23 at 4:44 PM
NEW ORLEANS – As the world remembers legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, a visible sign of her generosity and commitment to fighting AIDS can be seen daily on the streets of the city: a mobile medical unit funded through a gift from Taylor’s foundation.
In 2006, to celebrate her 74th birthday, Taylor, who died Wednesday of congestive heart failure, donated the CareVan to the NO/AIDS Task Force.
The donation was made through her foundation, in an effort to help those here who had been affected by Hurricane Katrina, and the lack of quality medical care after the storm.
Taylor’s gift to the task force totaled about $250,000, according to Noel Twilbeck, executive director of the NO/AIDS Task Force.
The 37-foot mobile medical unit is in operation at least four days a week, offering HIV testing and counseling, often at community health fairs or events.
“The mobile unit gives us the ability to go out into the community for testing, and if a person does test positive, we are able to get them to medical care and treatment,” Twilbeck told Eyewitness News. “As we know, it’s better to make that diagnosis earlier, rather than later, so it’s a tremendous resource.”
Twilbeck estimates the van is able to test about 700 people out in the community on a regular basis.
According to task force leaders, the gift was generated by a call from Taylor’s foundation to Martin Delaney, founder of Project Inform, a national HIV/AIDS research and advocacy organization. Delaney recommended the task force as the beneficiary.