Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day hits home

Today is World AIDS Day and I have to say, this is a day that's really important to me.
Ever since I first spent a summer in New York six years ago, AIDS has been something I've becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about and increasingly more passionate about.

Yesterday, in my office, there was a screening of the short documentary "Still Here" that won awards all over the world, including at Cannes, and it was about a man and his life with AIDS. His name is Randy and because of a genetic mutation, while he has HIV, it will never be able to attach to his cells, causing AIDS. He watched everyone he knew die in the early 80's and has now dedicated his life to teaching people about prevention. The film was moving, even moreso to me because it was made my a student.

But what I'd really like to write about is another Randy. My father.
You see, he took care of the very first HIV patient in Dallas. This was before there was even a name for this disease, and my father was assigned to taking care of this man that was dying. Not only that, but he began taking care of all the men that came into his hospital with this mystery ailment. I will never forget when he told me he wanted to make sure each man would not die alone and how he marshaled the nurses to stay with them every minute of the day and night.

I realize that was so many years ago, and I didn't even know this story until a short time ago, but it's yet another reason why my father is one of my heroes. No one knew what was going on, just that these men were dying so quickly, and he made sure that each one of the men that came into that hospital would not be left to die alone as so many were all over the country.

I do believe a cure will be found eventually and I hope it's in the lifetime of men like Randy and Randy who saw it at the beginning and can see it come to an end. And while my father wasn't able to prevent these men from dying, no one was at that point, he was there when they needed someone, just as he's been for me when I needed someone.

Support AIDS research. I donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and I partner with our AIDS programs at work, but there are so many organizations that need support.

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