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Fashion and theatrical show raises awareness for people living with HIV/AIDS

Event features models, dancers, musicians and more, acting out a day-in-the-life of two people living with HIV

February 20, 2016

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Fashion event to raise money and awareness for people living with HIV  4:33

Dean Thullner was a young man when he was diagnosed with HIV. 

"I was told I had three days left to live when I was 27 years old and it was a very difficult time," said Thullner, now 53, who added he also struggled with addiction and mental issues following his diagnosis.


In 2011, Thullner took part in a mental health program at St. Paul's Hospital and credits his participation there for his ability now to have "the luxury of a long life."

Wanting others to have the same, Thullner says he approached the Positive Living Society with the idea of putting together a fashion and theatrical show to raise awareness and money for the organization, which provides support and services for British Columbians living with HIV and AIDS. 

RED: A Positive Day takes place on Feb. 20 at the Commodore Ballroom and features a cast of local dancers, models, designers, fashion retailers, hair stylists, and make-up artists who will take the audience on a theatrical journey following a day in the life of two people living with HIV/AIDS.

Thullner said many people from the LGBT community jumped at the chance to give back.

"It's a day in the life of two people, so we're going out to dinner, out to the ski hills, and out dancing, we're going to be modeling different aspects of different parts of the day," he said.

Thullner said he chose to do this event to show thanks to the people who cared for him and showed him much compassion during those days when he was very ill.

He said he knows there are people who still need care.

"People are still struggling with homelessness mental health and addictions on top of being HIV positive, so imagine being marginalized and not having resources," he said.

RED: A Positive Day held a model call and had 200 people show up for half that number of spots, he said. There are also dancers and make up artists and hair dressers offering their time for the event.

In the video above, Thullner explains how the event began and shows some of the local designs in this interview with Jason D'Souza from Our Vancouver.

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