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AFC Holiday Benefit, World AIDS Day and Me Leaving the ‘Population’

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Last Saturday, December 1st, was World AIDS Day. I hope you were able to join others in the fight against HIV and AIDS for those living with the condition and also remember those who have died of it. And of course, I hope you are still helping to spread awareness about prevention methods. A few quick facts from the website: an estimated 34 million people have HIV and more than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus.

Wow. Way too many lives are being lost! #sad 

Months ago, I was planning to do something special to celebrate AIDS and HIV awareness, but alas, time slipped and I found myself a few days away from World AIDS Day with no ideas or plans. I’m thankful for my lack of planning (this time) because it made me search for local happenings and I came across the 6th Annual Artists for Charity (AFC) Holiday Benefit.

Check out their website yourself to see how AFC has worked for six years to improve the lives of orphans in Ethiopia living with HIV and how they have just sent their first child to college (an amazing and awesome accomplishment) and how the founder, Abezash, is continuing to use her talent of art to change the world and to help others do the same. #love I support massive CHANGE!

When I was younger, I remember learning about HIV and AIDS and how awareness advocates said that at some point we would all know someone either living with or that had died from the condition. At that time, I was happy to be in the population of people who had not had a loved one live with it or die from it (at least that I knew of). But that changed shortly afterwards.

And today, I’m no longer in that population.

It still hurts thinking about it… the loss of a good friend and the struggle of others living with the virus in my circle. This pandemic is real folks, and as my mother says, it “is no respecter of persons.”

I’m happy to report that Artists for Charity raised more than $42,000 at the event. $42K!!!!! That was music to my ears and I’m greatly excited about the good works that will happen because of these funds.

Pictures: I hope you enjoy the few shots I took from the 6th Annual AFC Holiday Benefit. I was IN LOVE with the art; passionate, heartfelt and very skillful! Even the founder is an artist by trade. Being in room full of creative and caring minds is the closest thing to heaven we know of.

“Because of YOU we are able to continue to help make a difference in the lives of children living with HIV/AIDS. You don’t have to wait until the next benefit to get involved or donate.” -AFC

Get involved today!

QUESTION: How has AIDS and HIV affected YOUR life? Are you still in the ‘the population?’ Did you leave also? Share how the lives of your friends have been affected. We’d love to hear any story you have!

Today, I’m thankful for those fighting the good fight against HIV and AIDS and for the additional blessings coming to Ethiopia! God bless.


About gjames432

Just me and just pictures and stories and stories and pictures.


5 thoughts on “AFC Holiday Benefit, World AIDS Day and Me Leaving the ‘Population’

  1. The first person in my family to die from AIDS was my uncle. He was diagnosed back in the 90’s, and died in the 90’s. I believe he contracted it from sharing needles.
    When I knew he was doing drugs via a needle (mid 80’s), I didn’t know much about AIDS. People was just starting to talk about it.
    My aunt was diagnosed around the same time as my aunt, but for some reason, she lasted longer (still dont understand that one). She’s alive today.
    Gosh, I remember when we first found out. She was living with us, and we didn’t (well, maybe just me) want to eat off the same utensils.
    The other person who died from AIDS, was my father. I have no info about any of that.
    I have a cousin who’s about 25, and he’s been HIV+ since abou ’05. And he’s still sexually active, unfortunately. His mother died of AIDS, and she was actually positive hen she had one of my other cousins.
    Drugs and promiscuity is what they all have in common.

    No one in my immediate family is sick that I know of. That would be extremely close to home.

    Posted by sharon | December 7, 2012, 12:31 am
  2. *my aunt was diagnosed around the same time as my UNCLE (correction)

    Posted by sharon | December 7, 2012, 12:34 am
  3. Sadly I left the population a LONG time ago. The abuse of Heroin in Washington DC (as well as other poor choices) is what led to family members becoming infected. Thankfully people are able to live longer with treatment. But I do believe that their infection may have prevented me from becoming infected. I saw their quality of life, how the drugs ravaged their bodies, and I knew that I would do whatever was in MY power to protect myself. In college my organization started a “Protect Your Essence” campaign to help educate others about the risk of infection.

    It just hurts me to know that even in this day and age, people still believe that “it wont happen to me”. HIV/AIDS is real folks and it can happen to anyone!

    Posted by Chloe Wilson | December 7, 2012, 9:13 am
  4. I am very blessed to still be in the population, as far as I know. Both sides of my family have been fortunate enough to not have had to deal with any family members battling HIV or AIDS. We didn’t grow up in big cities where the exposure to high risk behaviors is greater, though . I think having the education and an awareness of the disease and its transmission process has continued to protect us. That, and God keeping us in those times where we didn’t always make the best choices.
    As a pediatric nurse, however, I have taken care of many children living with HIV and AIDS, including babies born with it and teenagers who contracted the disease from unprotected sex or needle sharing. I recently had a toddler patient whose mother was a teen I took care of the year before, both living with HIV. Thankfully, both of them were taking their medications, which surprisingly isn’t always the case. In those times where my patients have been admitted because they haven’t been taking care of themselves, or have been missing meds, I try to take a little time to find out what’s really going on. Sometimes they open up, sometimes they don’t. Either way I make sure they know that life at this point is NOT over, and they can still do big things.. they just have to fight a little harder and take extra good care of themselves. And they still get hugs and affection and all the other good stuff nurses do too!

    Sounds like AFC is doing great things! It is absolutely possible for a child to have HIV or AIDS and live a long, productive life with early recognition and early treatment, but nothing beats prevention!


    Posted by Angie | December 7, 2012, 11:26 am
  5. I love the little girl stooping with her two fingers in her nose! So precious and you caught her in such a moment.#darling Reminds me of our innocence as youth. As we grow older not only does that innocence seem to fade but we also ” leave that population of innocence” you discussed.

    Are eyes and our hearts open up to a world that is real, raw, and often times very unforgiving. But I know I am grateful for all those moments where I left a population of innocence and learned something new about the world around me. The challenges on this journey have given rise to the warrior spirit that lies in each of us. Maya Angelou said it best, ” still I rise.”

    Even as adults it’s great when we get to re-live or express that childhood innocence. Sometimes getting stuck in “moments” reminds us to breathe…exhale and take it all in. Beauty is so simple, sometimes we just need to open our eyes so we don’t miss it.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Posted by Miss Beautiful | December 7, 2012, 11:43 am

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