My friend and I had lunch and asked a few questions of ourselves. What does one really know about running an organization at the age of 40? How do we know if we are involved with the right organization? How does one know if their cause is the right one? After a lunch today, so many more questions surfaced than these as to the history of our AIDS work. Today is World AIDS Day and there are many still involved in the work that exists today. Many had to have some distance and many are not with us. These thoughts and questions are for those that “grew up with AIDS”.
1) Are you the only person alive today that knew your previous parent, partner, sibling, cousin, spouse, co-worker or friend?
2) Have you been a part of a clinical trial?
3) If you are a women, do you remember the first female trials and the effects of how the drugs had different side effects than with men?
4) Did you lose your family to hemophelia?
5) Do you remember when mothers and children were even at risk?
6) Do you remember the people that you could tell about your own status?
7) Do you remember when there were only programs to help people die with dignity?
8)Do you remember when families disowned their blood relations?
9) Do you remember when someone in Corporate America or a high profile athlete or star disclosed their HIV status?
10) Can you still feel the people that have been lost too young and the people who are still here and are connected to you for life?
In so many ways, it was these questions that defined so many people for life. Each question required people to change and constantly. Today, this very list of questions provides clarity on this World AIDS Day for me. The lessons learned while working in a relatively new field leave me in a state of pure gratitude.
Today was a day of recalling all those lost and those alive. Each of you have and are a blessing to some one, somewhere.
And yes, it was the right cause at the right time and my age or which organization probably did not matter. The people that were involved mattered, be they a client, staff member, Board member, volunteer, family member or friend.