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Sir Richard Branson to Host Virgin Unite Gala Starring New-Wave Pioneer Elvis Costello, MINDFREAK Criss Angel & Queen of Burlesque Dita Von Teese
TORONTO (ONTARIO) October 22, 2007
TORONTO (ONTARIO) October 22, 2007 – Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of Companies, will visit Toronto on November 12, 2007 to host a fundraising gala for his charitable organization, Virgin Unite. Proceeds from the ‘Midnight Magic’ themed event will support Virgin Unite’s (U.K.) Heaven’s Angels Campaign that is training a team of health care workers to deliver life-saving supplies on motorcycles into remote and impoverished areas of Sub-Saharan Africa where people are in great need of care.
Virgin Unite is a charitable movement that is focused on driving grassroots change to make a real difference in the lives of people around the world who need it most. This event will mark the introduction of Virgin Unite (Canada), which is currently finalizing its charitable status in Canada.
“I’m thrilled to be officially introducing Virgin Unite to Canadians,” said Richard Branson, “Virgin Unite sees a huge opportunity to bring together social and business groups in a way that creates real change for people in crisis. Now that we can begin to involve Canadians in this work, Virgin Unite’s impact will continue to grow in driving sustainable solutions for communities that need it most.”
Globally up to 16,000 people die every day from the 'Big Three' preventable diseases, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB. Sub-Saharan Africa is hardest hit with over 10,000 dying each day in this region. Many of the suffering live in remote rural areas miles away from the nearest hospital or clinic. While treatments and preventative materials are available, the challenge is getting these items across large distances and hostile terrain.
Motorbikes are proven to be a fantastic solution. Virgin Unite’s (U.K.) Heaven’s Angels program recruits locally, qualified health workers and teaches them to ride and maintain a motorcycle providing the means of reaching those in 'the last mile'. It’s estimated that $11,000 will buy a new motorcycle, employ a new health worker and cover the running costs for the first year.
Andrew Black, President and CEO of Virgin Mobile Canada and Virgin Unite Canada board member said, “It doesn’t take much to have an enormously positive impact on the lives of others and Virgin Mobile is excited to be a part of Virgin Unite’s fundraising efforts. As Canada’s leading provider of mobile services to the youth market, we have a customer group that is very aware of social issues - globally and locally - and who expect us to play a leading role in championing change. We are committed to playing our part both abroad and here at home and in 2008, and will work with Virgin Unite in Canada to find an innovative Canadian charitable organization with which we can partner to make a difference in our own backyard as well.”
“Motorola is proud to be the lead sponsor of this very important event which will see Canadians become part of the global Virgin Unite effort,” said Colleen McClure, Director of Marketing, Motorola Canada. “Virgin Unite is a perfect complement for Motorola’s existing work in Africa that connects life-saving medicine to those most in need, creating a more positive future for the continent.”
Joining Sir Richard to provide a stellar evening of entertainment that turns tradition on its head in true Virgin style will be three of the entertainment world’s most unique and intriguing performers: New wave pioneer Elvis Costello will play both classics and new hits, modern-day mystifier and MINDFREAK Criss Angel will attempt to match his own world record in a dangerous escape feat, and the International Queen Of Burlesque Dita Von Teese will unveil the world premiere of her new Black Swan Dance.
Guests will have the chance to bid on once-in-a-lifetime auction items such as: a one-week trip for two to Richard Branson’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands and the Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, a Gibson guitar signed by 2007 Virgin Festival artists, VIP tickets to Virgin Festivals across North America in 2008, and much more.
Virgin Unite’s Midnight Magic Gala will be held at the environmentally friendly Direct Energy Centre on November 12, 2007.
Ticket Availability & Sponsorship Packages
Tickets and sponsorship packages for the gala are available by calling 1866-99-UNITE or for more information visit midnightmagic.ca. Current sponsors for the evening include founding partners Virgin Mobile, CTVglobemedia Inc. and Motorola Canada.
About Virgin Unite
Launched in the UK in 2004, Virgin Unite is the global independent charitable arm of the Virgin Group. Richard Branson and Virgin fully fund operational costs, so that 100% of all donations received go directly to the frontline where it is needed the most. Virgin Unite was created by Richard Branson and Virgin Group employees around the world to harness Virgin's people, resources and energy to make a difference to forgotten people and overlooked issues. Virgin Unite takes an entrepreneurial approach to social and environmental issues, investing in innovative and sustainable programs. Virgin Unite has registered charities in the UK, and U.S. and applications are pending in Australia and Canada. Virgin Unite is also operational in the UK, South Africa and Australia. For more information, go to www.virginunite.com
About Virgin Mobile Canada
Launched in 2005, Virgin Mobile is Canada’s first wireless service created for and defined by youth. Virgin Mobile has a portfolio that includes monthly price plans, a full range of phones and a broad array of messaging, music and mobile content offerings. J.D. Power and Associates has recognized Virgin Mobile as ranking highest in customer satisfaction with prepaid wireless service for two years in a row. Virgin Mobile products can also be purchased online at http://www.virginmobile.ca or by calling 877-662-2824.
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