HomeStandard PeopleCharity raises US$1m, ‘dead’ celebs live!

Charity raises US$1m, ‘dead’ celebs live!

LOS ANGELES —  It took longer than many thought — and comedians had a laugh at their expense ­— but singer Alicia Keys and her celebrity friends raised US$1 million for an Aids charity and, with it, lived to tweet again.

Keys and her Keep a Child Alive charity co-founder, Leigh Blake, on Monday said their widely-followed “digital death” campaign reached its US$1 million goal after pharmaceutical entrepreneur Stewart Rahr  pitched in US$500 000.

At stake, along with raising funds to help millions of children and families living with Aids in Africa and India, were the digital lives of celebrities who vowed to stay off social networking websites Twitter and Facebook until the US$1 million was raised.

The celebrities included Justin Timberlake, Ryan Seacrest, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Usher. Their campaign launched on World Aids Day (December 1) amid great fanfare with the expectation it would quickly reach its goal.

After all, the celebrities all have millions of fans. Lady Gaga boasts 7,3 million followers on Twitter alone. Justin Timberlake has 3,6 million, and Seacrest has 3,7 million.

Problem was, it took longer than many celebrity watchers thought, and as donations reached only US$100 000, then US$200 000, the stars became the butt of jokes on the web, TV and radio. Their popularity — or lack thereof — was questioned, as was their fans’ desire to keep them digitally dead.
But on Monday, the stars emerged from their coffins.

“So stoked to be back on twitter! Special shout out to Stewie Rah Rah for his generous donation,” Seacrest tweeted.

“I’m back from the dead! Thank you all so much for your donations and contributions! I have missed u all so much!!!,” Kardashian posted on Twitter.

For its part, Keep a Child Alive said “although we never expected to raise US$1 million overnight, we are completely blown away that we were able to achieve our goal in less than a week”. The group said more than 3 600 people contributed.

Rahr owned and operated a New York-based pharmaceutical distribution business that he recently sold. He learned of Keep a Child Alive earlier this year, the charity said. — Reuters.

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