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Julia Roberts will present Dr. Anthony Fauci with amfAR award for courage


'There's no one more deserving'

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for GLSEN

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House's top health expert on the coronavirus, will receive an award presented by actress Julia Roberts for "courage" in the fight against AIDS.

Roberts, known for hit roles in "Pretty Woman" and "Erin Brockovich," will present Fauci with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research's Award of Courage, during a virtual "A Gala for Our Time" event on March 4, People magazine reported Thursday. The video presentation of the award was pre-recorded and excerpts from the video were published by People.

""There's no one more deserving. You've been tireless and true for all of us and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart," Roberts reportedly tells Fauci.

"Thank you so much Julia, those are such very kind words, I really do appreciate them. Coming from you, that really means a lot to me," Fauci says before thanking the "unsung heroes" of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Actress Glenn Close will also be honored with an award presented by Bette Midler.

"Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, where he oversees an extensive research portfolio focused on infectious and immune-mediated diseases," amfAR states on its website. "As the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, Dr. Fauci has made many seminal contributions in basic and clinical research and is one of the world's most cited biomedical scientists. He was one of the principal architects of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world."

A Gala for Our Time will be amfAR's first virtual fundraising gala for the amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19, which supports efforts to develop effective treatments for the coronavirus. The virtual event will be free for those who wish to register to view it and will feature numerous celebrity appearances and performances by Kelly Clarkson, Ava Max and Rita Ora.

According to People magazine, amfAR presents its award of Courage to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to important social and humanitarian causes, particularly to amfAR and the global HIV/AIDS response.

Roberts has previously called Fauci her "personal hero."

At the #PassTheMic campaign last May, during which celebrities, health experts, and policy makers spoke about the need for a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Roberts spoke to Fauci, referring to him as "maybe the coolest man on the planet right now."

"Oh, this is such a thrill," Roberts told Fauci. "This is a thrill for me because there are very few experts of anything in the world and you truly have emerged as a personal hero for me. Just to have this little corner of your time for us is such a joy."

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