Natasha Bilimoria, Director of U.S. Strategy for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Red Nose Day has long been a popular program in the U.K. that raises money for a wide range of charities. But last year, Comic Relief brought the popular fundraising event to the U.S with incredible results. Red Nose Day 2015 raised more than $23 million from generous Americans from across the U.S. and shared those funds with a number of domestic and international organizations, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

That was more than enough reason to hold a second Red Nose Day show in the U.S. in 2016.  Once again, Gavi will be one of 11 charity partners whose work focuses on improving the lives of children in poverty both here in the U.S. and around the world.  

The show this year will be anchored by a live two-hour, star-studded broadcast on NBC on Thursday, May 26, at 9 pm ET. 

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Comedian Craig Ferguson is hosting this year’s show with top-name entertainers like Ellen DeGeneres, Jack Black, Paul Rudd, and Julianne Moore. The broadcast will feature hilarious comedy, incredible music performances from popular artists and short, compelling films shedding light on children in need here at home and around the world. But what makes Red Nose Day special is that in addition to its entertainment value, it enables millions people from across the country to play a concrete and direct role in helping children get the best chance in life.

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Heidi Klum rocks her red nose. 

What does a red nose have to do with vaccines?

Red Nose Day is about getting silly and having fun while helping change the lives of children and young people in need. When more people know about the value of vaccines and their huge and measurable impact on saving lives and improving health overall, more financial support follows.  And with more funding, more vaccines can be purchased and distributed to save lives.

At Gavi we already know the facts:

  • 1.5 million kids die from vaccine preventable diseases every year.
  • 95% of children don’t get recommended vaccines by the World Health Organization, and 85% of unvaccinated children live in the world’s poorest countries.
  • Since 2000 – Gavi and its partners have made it possible for half a billion children to be vaccinated, saving more than 7 million lives.

How can you put on a red nose?

Turns out Americans enjoyed being seriously silly last year, and this year hopefully even more of you will jump in to support the fight to end child poverty by sharing your fun and festive pictures of friends and family donning red noses. If you can’t make it to Walgreens to pick up your red nose, you can also use the Red Nose Yourself app, which allows you to virtually insert a red nose in any picture. 

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Enjoying the show and participating in the fundraising with Comic Relief is just one more way we can help more kids get the vaccines they need. Together, I’m sure we can improve on last year’s fundraising totals and help even more kids in need in the US and around the world.

I’ll be wearing a Red Nose and enjoying a great night of fun and fundraising on Thursday so that Gavi can be one step closer to providing more child with life saving vaccines. Won’t you join me?