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AIDS benefit at Kathleen's 5

LANDMARK restaurant Kathleen's 5 will hold its annual Candle Light Memorial dinner gala and fund-raiser on Saturday to raise awareness in China about people with HIV/AIDS.

Now in its fifth year, the event has raised an average of 200,000 yuan (US$29,287) annually for HIV/AIDS-related charities. This year proceeds will support the Chi Heng Foundation that looks after orphans and families affected by HIV/AIDS.

The event seats 160 people for dinner and more for the auction and after-party.

Kathleen's 5 General Manager Franck Crouvezier says he was first inspired to launch the fund raising after seeing a lack of AIDS awareness events in China.

The International AIDS Candle Light Memorial was launched in 1983 and has become the second largest HIV/AIDS awareness day globally after World AIDS Day on December 1 every year.

Shanghai's Candle Light Memorial aims to raise the profile of the red ribbon symbol.

"The idea is to commemorate people who have passed away from AIDS and, personally, it is an opportunity to raise awareness and help educate people about HIV and AIDS," Crouvezier says.

The gala will feature dance performances, a jazz band and live auction.

The auction will include five artworks, a stay at the Puli Hotel and Spa and dinner for eight at the JW Marriott Hotel.

One of the most attractive items is a chance to test-drive a top-of-the-range Porsche at Shanghai's Formula One racetrack.

The headline item is a trip to France to visit wine growing areas in the south.

Tickets are selling fast and cost 1,000 yuan, while tickets to the after-party cost 120 yuan, which also includes two drinks.

"We have tried to cater for everyone, with raffle tickets selling for just 10 yuan. We want this to be something the whole community can get behind," says the general manager.

The Chi Heng Foundation supports more than 6,000 orphans and some of them will attend the dinner and take part in dancing and singing performances.

Founded in 1998, the foundation is registered in Hong Kong and has offices in Henan, Anhui and Guangzhou provinces, Beijing and Shanghai.

Chi Heng means "wisdom in action" and the foundation uses its skills and knowledge to provide assistance at village and community levels across China to ensure no child affected by AIDS is excluded and their individual needs are fully understood.

The foundation primarily pays for children's education and living expenses and all funds are delivered to schools. Rather than support orphanages or foster homes, the foundation aims to keep children with relatives.

The dinner gala will be hosted by China's UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador James Chau from CCTV.

The event will kick off at 6:30pm and will include performances by Jazz du Funk, Heidi Kenn and Steve Sweeting.

The dinner ends at 10:30pm; the after-party for as many as 600 people starts from 10pm and runs until late.

Tickets for the dinner are available from Kathleen's 5 restaurant on the 5th floor of Shanghai Art Museum (325 Nanjing Rd W.). Tel: 6327-2221


Raffle tickets are also available at Shanghai Studio (No.4, Lane 1950 Huaihai Rd M.); Bioscor China (No. 5, Lane 89 Xingguo Rd); and Eddy's Bar (1877 Huaihai Rd M.).


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