Sir Richard Branson launches Virgin Unite Canada with a "magical" evening



    Criss Angel, Dita Von Teese, and Elvis Costello raise funds for Virgin
    Unite in stellar style

    More than $1M Worth of Medical Supplies and Funds Donated To Virgin Unite

    TORONTO, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Tonight Sir Richard Branson, chairman of the
Virgin Group of Companies, officially launched Virgin Unite Canada at the
Midnight Magic Gala Fundraiser at one of the greenest buildings in the
country, the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.
    "Today, Canada became a part of a global movement led by Virgin that is
creating real change for people in need," said Sir Richard Branson. "I'm
thrilled to launch Virgin Unite here and to bring the warmth, passion, and
generosity of Canadians into our work around the world."
    Founded by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Unite is a charitable movement
that works to drive grassroots change and make a real difference in the lives
of people around the world who need it most. It focuses on three core areas -
the environment, youth in need and stopping the spread of the "Big Three"
preventable diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
    "We very much appreciate the focus tonight's event brings to Virgin Unite
and the 'Heaven's Angels' Campaign," said Jean Oelwang, managing director of
Virgin Unite. "The support Canadians have given will make an enormous
difference in the lives of people in need."

    Heaven's Angels

    Proceeds from the Midnight Magic Gala will go directly to Virgin Unite's
'Heaven's Angels' Campaign. This innovative program funds and supports a team
of trained health care workers who ride motorcycles into remote and
impoverished areas of Sub-Saharan Africa to deliver life-saving medical
supplies to people in need of care. It's estimated that just $11,000 will buy
a new motorcycle, employ a health worker, and cover their running costs for
the first year.
    "Tonight's event will give a huge kick start to Virgin Unite Canada,"
said Andrew Black, president and CEO of Virgin Mobile Canada and Virgin Unite
Canada board member. "The generous contributions from Canadians tonight show
just how much people care, and inspire us to do even more. Virgin Mobile is
excited to be a part of this great initiative and will continue to help raise
awareness about life-saving programs like Heaven's Angels."

    Canada Begins to Contribute

    A local partner of Virgin Mobile for an HIV Testing Awareness campaign,
bioLytical Laboratories generously donated $1 million in medical supplies for
Virgin Unite to use at clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa. bioLytical Laboratories
reports that the INSTI(TM) HIV tests are among the fastest and most reliable
HIV diagnostic kits in the world. They require no refrigeration and have a
12 month shelf life, making them an incredible resource for Virgin Unite's
partners in remote parts of Africa, giving a reliable diagnosis of HIV
infection in only 60 seconds.
    "We're delighted to have the support of bioLytical Laboratories in the
fight against HIV/AIDS," said Black. "We look forward to bringing on more
Canadian partners over the next year, both as contributors and activists
within our community, as we search for other local partners to help make a
difference both globally and in Canada."

    About Virgin Unite

    Launched in the UK in 2004, Virgin Unite is the global independent
charitable arm of the Virgin Group. Richard Branson and Virgin fully fund
operational costs, so that 100% of all donations received go directly to the
frontline where it is needed the most. Virgin Unite was created by Richard
Branson and Virgin Group employees around the world to harness Virgin's
people, resources, and energy to make a difference to forgotten people and
overlooked issues. Virgin Unite has registered charities in the UK, and U.S.,
South Africa and Australia and most recently became registered in Canada. For
more information, go to www.virginunite.com.

    About Virgin Mobile Canada

    The Virgin Mobile group of companies has attracted more than 10 million
customers worldwide. As the No. 1 mobile youth network, Virgin Mobile Canada's
mission is to connect, entertain, and reward like nobody else. Its simpler,
better deal offers customers control, flexibility, and choice to design mobile
packages that truly work for them. J.D. Power and Associates ranked Virgin
Mobile highest in customer satisfaction with prepaid wireless service for
three years in a row(1), 91% of customers would recommend Virgin Mobile to a
friend, and a 2007 independent survey showed that Virgin Mobile has the
happiest customers in Canada.
    Virgin Mobile phones are available at more than 4,000 locations with
top-up cards available at more than 10,000 locations nationally. Virgin Mobile
products can also be purchased online at http://www.virginmobile.ca or by
calling 877-662-2824.

    About INSTI(TM) HIV-1 Rapid Antibody Test

    The INSTI(TM) HIV-1 Rapid Antibody Test is a rapid, in-vitro, qualitative
test for the detection of antibodies to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in
human whole blood, serum or plasma. The test is capable of providing results
in 60-seconds and is intended for use as a screening assay by trained
personnel in medical facilities, clinical laboratories, emergency care
situations, and physicians' offices.

    About bioLytical Laboratories

    bioLytical Laboratories (Inc.) is a leading developer and manufacturer of
diagnostic tests for global health care markets. bioLytical is a privately
owned company with headquarters and a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility
located in Richmond, British Columbia, with offices in United Kingdom and
Uganda, Africa. For more information about bioLytical and INSTI(TM), please
visit www.biolytical.com.

    
    (1) J.D. Power and Associates 2005-2007 Canadian Wireless Customer
        Satisfaction Study SM. 2006 study based on 5,784 total responses from
        consumers with prepaid wireless service surveyed in October 2006.
        jdpower.com.
    

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/





For further information:

For further information: Media contact for Virgin Mobile and Virgin
Unite: Chris Baines, Virgin Mobile Canada, (416) 607-8412,
chris.baines@virginmobile.ca; Erica Faltous, Hill & Knowlton Canada, (416)
413-4695, (416) 655-8221, erica.faltous@hillandknowlton.ca; Media Contact for
bioLytical Laboratories: Amanda Smith, BSc., Smith Biotech, (778) 846-4116,
amanda@smithbiotech.com

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