Holiday cheer filled the Tropicana Las Vegas for Golden Rainbow’s 34th annual Ribbon of Life with the first-ever holiday edition, titled “Holiday Spectacular.”
Celebrating the most wonderful time of the year, the event featured performances from the Strip’s top shows and community organizations to ring in the holiday season while raising funds for critically needed services for those living with or affected by HIV.
Drag artist EDIE and Sean McAllister returned as hosts, announcing acts from Legends in Concert, Bat Out of Hell The Musical, Tape Face, Reckless in Vegas, Zowie Bowie, Murray Sawchuck, Travis Cloer, RuPaul’s Drag Race and more.
As each carried out their unique acts to holiday classics, guests sang, danced and laughed along, with some audience members brought on stage to join the fun for acts including Tape Face and Phyllis Vanillis.
Respects were paid to past performers, crew members and long-time guests, such as Siegfried & Roy, through a video montage and speech by Pietra Sardelli, Ribbon of Life’s producer. A moving video was shown, telling the story of two clients and how their lives benefited from the housing program offered by Golden Rainbow. Prior to connecting with Golden Rainbow, both clients endured medical complications, including blindness and living with children in unsafe conditions.
Golden Rainbow’s Executive Director Gary Costa and Sardelli took the stage to launch the organization’s $2 million capital campaign efforts to purchase and remodel a housing facility downtown that will provide clients with affordable and safe housing, who may be in financial ruin, in untenable situations, or living on the streets.
“For most people, a single pill a day is not difficult, but when you are dealing with housing insecurity, it can be next to impossible,” said Costa. “Studies show that when doses are repeatedly skipped, or the treatment is interrupted, these life-saving medications can lose their effectiveness, meaning the disease can not only advance, but the ability to spread the virus onto others is greatly increased.”
“The best way to address this reality is to provide safe, affordable, stable housing for those most at risk,” explained Sardelli. “For over 35 years, Golden Rainbow’s mission has been to provide emergency assistance to those living with HIV, and with the generous support of our community and various federal grants, we have grown to become the premier HIV housing service provider in Southern Nevada.”
The afternoon came to a rousing and moving finale with a $1,050,000 donation from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, presented by Helmsley Trustee Walter Panzirer to Golden Rainbow Executive Director Gary Costa. The Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts across the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. The gift will go towards Golden Rainbow’s housing program.
“Golden Rainbow does an incredible job providing critical housing for southern Nevadans living with or affected by HIV,” Panzirer said. “The Helmsley Charitable Trust is proud to support this crucial program.”
Representatives from Bank of America also graciously presented a $20,000 check towards the campaign.