Thursday, December 11, 2008
A Letter From Sir Elton
As this year's holiday season approaches and you contemplate your year-end charitable gifts, I would like to share with you a story about one of the Elton John AIDS Foundation's (EJAF) youngest donors - Jeffrey Hanson.
Just 15 years old, Jeffrey is a truly remarkable young man. Since 2005, he has been bravely dealing with severe vision loss due to an optic nerve tumor associated with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis. Brave is certainly an understatement for a young man who weathered the nausea, weight loss, and hair loss from radiation and chemotherapy treatments with unfailingly good spirits, wore a tuxedo to his final radiation treatment (now that's MY kind of style!), and bid goodbye to his school and friends in order to transfer to the Kansas State School for the Blind.
But Jeffrey is more than just brave. He also has an extraordinary imagination and an exceptionally generous heart. In 2006, he began painting beautiful abstract art note cards as a hobby, since his visual impairment prevented him from taking part in the usual "kid stuff," like skate boarding, bicycling, and baseball. Soon, he began selling his cards at Jeff's Bistro (his front-yard lemonade stand). Public response to Jeff's cards was so overwhelming that he decided to start donating the proceeds from his art to charity and began mass producing his art note cards, as well as painting larger canvases for donation and sale.
In October of 2007, I was privileged to meet Jeffrey at my concert in Kansas City through the auspices of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You cannot imagine my surprise when this generous young man gave me a check for EJAF from the proceeds of his art sales! We spent some time discussing his art and charitable work and my philanthropic work through EJAF, and I reciprocated his generosity with a gift to the Children's Tumor Foundation in his honor. Since then, Jeffrey has officially added the Elton John AIDS Foundation to his list of four charities supported through his art business. Please visit Jeffrey's website, www.jeffreyowenhanson.com, to learn more about this exceptional young man and to view his wonderful art.
Just recently, Jeff and his parents visited EJAF's office in New York City and presented us with his latest gift of $1,000. He is truly an inspiration to us all, and I do hope you will choose to join him in supporting EJAF during the holiday season. A gift to EJAF is a wonderful way to honor family, friends, and colleagues at this special time of the year. By making gifts in their name, you can help us make a real difference by preventing new HIV infections and improving the lives of people in the Americas and the Caribbean who are living with this terrible disease. Please make your donation today:
Thank you, and happy holidays,
Sir Elton John
Founder and Chairman