LOS ANGELES (HEPATITIS C AWARENESS, INC) - With the support from KVMD TV and Roche Pharmaceuticals as well as sponsors, friends and volunteers, The 3rd Annual Hepatitis C Telethon, airing Live on the Internet
on October 21st will expand the televised portion of the event from 2 to 8 hours, from 12-8pm PST. Originally an Internet-only Telethon, the need for Hepatitis C awareness in Southern CA prompted Kelly
Zirbes, founder of HepCAware.org, to make the event available on television. Local Listings for the television broadcast can be found at KVMDTV.com. Log on to www.HepCAware.org for more information.
The telethon will feature musical performances, comedians and medical experts as well as special guests, Hep C advocates and featured spots. Sponsors and partners like Alternative.nu and the Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program have helped the telethon to become a voice for those affected by Hep C. 'I believe more support is on the way' says Zirbes, 'finally the call for help is being heard' Other sponsors include KJLA, EarCandy, iHost.nu, Valeant, KVMD, The Hepatitis C Support Project, The City Of Los Angeles Aids Coordinator's Office, Maximum Milk Thistle, YellowSpot Design, Go Girls Music and Take 12 Radio.
Broadcasting on television in Southern California is an important component to this campaign. 'Not everyone is Internet savvy and we want to reach everyone here,' says Zirbes. KJLA is also a key part of this whole picture. Last year, Francis Wilkinson, general manager of KJLA, gave the okay for HepCAware.org to come in and shoot their telethon. 'Frances came through for us', says Zirbes. 'He understood that we needed help and he gave it!' On board again this year is Michael Mascarelli as Director, Technical Director Eliza Espinosa, Producer James Dozer and the group of volunteers from KJLA and LATV. Volunteers and advocates are flying in from all over the country to be a part of this event.
Alternative.nu, which originates the Internet broadcast, has been a key supporter of HepCAware.org. George Seymour, owner and operated of the Web site and employee at KJLA, is the link that started it all. Every year he donates time, equipment and even broadband to bring this event to the widest audience possible. Back in 2004, Kelly and her volunteers filmed the 1st Telethon in George's garage in Panorama City, CA. 'Sure it was low budget', laughs Seymour, 'but we reached hundreds of thousands of people across the world with that first telethon'. Now on television for 8 hours, it's easy to say, ĄThey've come a long way baby.''
Zirbes stresses that the Internet broadcast is still key to the awareness campaign. 'Broadcasting on the Internet is still the most important medium for our organization, says Kelly. 'It's the only way to reach everyone, everywhere.' Groups, volunteers, friends and friends of friends all over the country are helping to promote the telethon, including the Hepatitis C Advocacy Council, a group of organizations dedicated to raising awareness of Hepatitis C.
That there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C is just one of the important messages the telethon will make clear. The call to 'Get Tested' will be mentioned throughout the telethon and a link will be provided with a list of resources across the country. Hep C is a systemic blood borne virus that primarily attacks the liver. One in 50 Americans have Hep C, yet two out of three of them do not know it. "There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C (HCV) and people need to know if they are at risk", Zirbes points out. "HCV is a silent virus."
You may have been exposed to Hep C and should get tested if you have: received blood, blood products, or an organ transplant prior to 1992, ever shared drug, paraphernalia, either by injecting or snorting, ever been stuck by a used blood needle, been on kidney dialysis, had a tattoo or body piercing, had sexual activity that involves contact with blood, shared personal care items(razors, toothbrushes, etc.) with other people, been incarcerated or are a war veteran (especially Vietnam).
This major event will be hosted by Kelly Zirbes, Alfie Martin, Mary White M.D. and special guests and will feature performances by some of the industry's most celebrated artists. Already on board are legendary MC5 founder and guitarist Wayne Kramer, international blues artist Teresa James, comedians Courtney Cronin, Steve Mazan and Lisa Sundstedt and national touring artist Keaton Simons. Other musical artists include Orange County's Mystery Hangup, Blues Guitarist/Songstress Peach, Female fronted rockers Kanary, Malibu's Big Dume, Eden Automatic from Dallas, Internet Stars Dig Jelly, Boston's own Deb Pasternak, Percussion Guru Homero Chavez, Scott Detweiler from New Orleans, Rockers Hard Luck Story and JKB, Dean Chamberlain, formerly of the Motels, national touring artist Shauna Burns, Hep C Advocate and Pop/Rocker Lauren Adams, Bi-Coastal artist Malea McGuinness and Hep C Spokesband Kelly's Lot with special guest musicians Carl Esrasen M.D. and Michael Davis, MC5 Bassist.
Hep C Aware is a non-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible as provided by law.