By Robyn Collins
“We’ve come an awful long way from where we first started with two people at a kitchen table in Atlanta,” Elton John told reporters at a gala commemorating the 25th anniversary of his AIDS foundation.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation was launched in 1992 in the United States and in England a year later. Together, the two organizations have raised more than $385 million, and John said 98 percent of the donations have been put directly to work.
“I think because we run such a tight ship and it’s such a well-organized foundation, that people like to give us money. They know we give the money to people that need it.”
Jeanne White, the mother of Ryan White, a teenager who became the poster child for HIV awareness during the 1980s, called Sir Elton her “guardian angel.” She shared a story about when the legendary singer visited her son when he was sick and helped his family financially.
John shared that he visited the boy at a time when he was struggling with alcohol and “hated himself,” and that the White family helped him change for the better.
“What the White family did was light a little candle in my soul,” John said. “Six months after Ryan passed away, I got help and I became sober.”
During the event, John said that the battle against AIDS would be won by 2030, reports Billboard.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were among those on hand to celebrate John’s efforts to raise awareness and fight against AIDS.
“The life that Elton John and David (Furnish) have built, the friends they have and the work they do will in the end be the most beautiful song he ever wrote,” Clinton said.