#WorldAIDSDay2015

Today, the mission of the organization I personally learned so much from in the 90’s, may be closer than we knew at the time to becoming a reality: To One Day Go Out of Business. That was always the hope of the Board and Staff as we were growing systems and solutions to help what became the chronically ill, live healthy lives. Prevention was everything. Smart education tools and accessibility to treatment and services was the mission. IMG_5124Anything was possible as we gathered the most incredible people that never accepted NO as a reasonable answer. The only question was HOW?

To quote one of the Board Chairs in a text message written today: “We climbed some huge mountains together. The process and views from the top were among the finest and most meaningful I have ever experienced, and I see your faces in my mind’s eye every time I reflect back on those hard, moving, hilarious, heartwrenching, magical days. Love. Love.” Those reading this that were engaged probably understand these sentiments. The emotions will be raw for life.

Today, there will be candlelight memorial services, luncheons, social media and families that still grieve. In fact Pam Grier will address a World AIDS Day luncheon crowd today about her own journey with cancer Many of us know that the tools we learned did not die. We learned to use our voice, networks and passion to advocate and be a part of solutions. We all heard “Why is it your problem?” or “Why do you care so much?” “Why are you so passionate or angry?” If only the folks that asked the questions had seen what we saw, they would understand so much more.

So, it is fitting on this day we fight for those in our own back yard losing services. Maybe the University of Texas and MD Anderson thought few would notice, or care. Maybe the Insurance Companies figured no one would fight when an entire population was about to be financially abused. Well, if our work in the world of HIV/AIDS taught us anything, it was advocacy and use your voice. So rather than let big Corporate voices decide that 2300 patients will no longer be able to access cancer treatment that they have had, let’s use this day to speak up! And let me be clear, we MUST still advocate for any population that needs prevention education and or treatment to have access. Today, we are ALL in a fight against a broken health care system consumed in blaming and political grandstanding.

Just read this petition and please, if you are so moved, sign it and share it far and wide. It is time we let the Insurance Companies and leadership of the very institutions our tax dollars pay for hear that we are tired of being a pawn in the political and financial games that we are a part of. Let them know we are paying attention and will not stop advocating for our neighbors.

Please click on the word PETITION and let’s activate our own voices. I am doing this today in memory of the first person I lost to AIDS, Chuck Selber and in memory of my mother, who lost her battle with cancer 4 years ago.

This is also in honor of every  advocate, volunteer and caring associate in my life. Though many may not be able to visibly become the face of a cause, your calls, emails and actions matter! #UseYourVoice and help someone that you may never meet.

 

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