Actress Julia Roberts gushed over Dr. Anthony Fauci during a sneak peek at a gala during which she will award the nation’s top infectious disease expert with an award for courage.
Roberts is slated to present Fauci with The Foundation for AIDS Research’s (amfAR) Award of Courage at the organization’s virtual “A Gala for Our Time” event that will air March 4 on YouTube, according to an exclusive first look obtained by PEOPLE.
“There’s no one more deserving,” Roberts reportedly tells Fauci in the video. “You’ve been tireless and true for all of us and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“Thank you so much, Julia, those are such very kind words, I really do appreciate them,” Fauci responds. “Coming from you, that really means a lot to me.” He also went out of his way to mention the frontline workers dealing with COVID-19 patients, whom he described as the “unsung heroes.”
amfAR, which is dedicated to finding a cure for HIV, has expanded its research to study COVID-19. They present their Award of Courage to figures who distinguish themselves for their social and humanitarian work, especially regarding HIV/AIDS. Glenn Close will also be receiving an Award of Courage, which will be given to her by singer Bette Midler.
When Roberts first spoke with Fauci in May, she was apparently star-struck. Interviewing him as a part of the #PassTheMic campaign, in which celebrities handed their social media accounts over to health experts, Roberts “visibly gasped and smiled as he sat down,” according to PEOPLE.
“Oh, this is such a thrill,” Roberts said when Fauci moved into frame. “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.”
Fauci has been showered with accolades since the outbreak of COVID-19. Most recently, he was awarded a $1 million Israeli prize.
As The Daily Wire reported:
[T]he nation’s top infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci received a $1 million Israeli prize established by the late Italian Israeli philanthropist Dan David.
Fauci, a leading voice in President Donald Trump’s White House coronavirus task force, was honored with the Dan David Prize for his service in public health and “speaking truth to power” during pandemic, NPR reported Monday.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic unraveled, (Fauci) leveraged his considerable communication skills to address people gripped by fear and anxiety and worked relentlessly to inform individuals in the United States and elsewhere about the public health measures essential for containing the pandemic’s spread,” the award committee said in a statement. “In addition, he has been widely praised for his courage in speaking truth to power in a highly charged political environment.”
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