Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Loving Memory

Three years ago today, my brother Larry passed away after an 18 year battle with AIDS. The pain of losing a loved one to this devastating disease is painful beyond belief. But actually watching someone you love waste away from this disease is a pain that is too difficult to put into words. It isn't a quick death; it is a long drawn out death that kills little by little as vital organs in the body stop functioning.



Right before Larry died, he asked me to do him a huge favor. He asked that I do everything that I can to educate people about HIV/AIDS and help find a cure for this disease. So much of our research dollars go to Heart Disease and Cancer research (and rightly deserved). However, here are some heart wrenching HIV/AIDS statistics:



The correct provisional global estimates for 2007 are:


Number of children living with HIV in 2007: 2.1 million [1.9-2.4 million];
Number of children who died of AIDS in 2007: 290,000 [270 000-320 000].



Number of people living with HIV/AIDS in 2006
Total: 39.5 million
Adults: 37.2 million
Women: 17.7 million
Children under 15: 2.3 million


Misc. facts and figures:


Number of AIDS Deaths in 2006: 2.9 million. (2.6 million adults and 380,000 children under 15)
Number of Orphaned Children by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa at the End of 2003: 12 million


By December 2003 women accounted for nearly 50 percent of all people living with HIV worldwide, and for 57 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa.



Young people (15-24 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide; more than 6000 become infected with HIV every day.



An estimated 5 million people in low income countries do not have the AIDS drugs which could save their lives.



There you have it, and it is sobering. I have many friends who have siblings that have passed from this disease. There are people in our ART groups who have family and friends that have passed from this.



So today, on the anniversary of Larry's death, I am asking you to please open up your hearts and give a donation to San Francisco AIDS Foundation http://www.sfaf.org/donate or to amFAR http://www.amfar.org/cgi-bin/iowa/index.html

It can be a $5 dollar donation if that's all you can do. But please...give. And feel free to give the link to my blog to your family and friends. The message needs to get out.


Rest in peace, dear brother. I miss you...












17 comments:

ellen said...

your brother would be so proud of you for this...

The Backporch Artessa said...

I'm sorry for your loss Sandee. I had a second cousin pass from it too. You are so right about it being a long, drawn out, painful way to leave this earth. My family and I actually work with many victims here in Central Ohio who not only face down the awful disease every day, but also the stygma and uneducated stereotypes too. I have contributed today to our local Vineyard, which has a free HIV/AIDS clinic. Thank you for your sensitive and informed efforts to educate us all.

Joanne Huffman said...

Sandee, this is a touching and loving tribite to your brother. And, something that will do a lot of good for a lot of people. I made a contribution to amFar.

Joanne

theresa martin said...

This is a lovely tribute to your brother. He would be proud of you - thanks for the informative post.

Tracey said...

This is a wonderful way to pay tribute to your brother. I cannot believe that after all of this time the statistics are still so high. Thanks for making me aware and I'll be sure to spread out my donation dollars over the year to include AIDS research, too. --tracey

peggy gatto said...

Thinking of you!

Kelly Snelling said...

blessing to you, sandee. i lost my brother when i was 18. it is the saddest thing. but to see you fulfilling his wishes is a beautiful tribute to him.

Debi said...

Sandee, what a wonderful sister you are and he would be so proud of you. I think it is a beautiful tribute to your brother.

Aimeslee said...

Oh, Sandee, my heart goes out to you and your family. Hubs and I lost 2 very close friends back in 1995 and 1996 to it and so we volunteer and give to our local hospice that helped them greatly. My friends were early victims, living with it since the late 80's. I often wonder if they'd still be with us had medicine been there for them then. It's just so wrenching, particularly when you think of the young people who have to guard against it (like my DD).

Karen Owen said...

What a touching tribute to your brother, Sandee! He would be so pleased that you are honoring his request.

Karen

Luftslottet said...

I send you the deepest regards form norway, and your brother sure knows what a good sister you still are!

Tamara C said...

You are a loving and wonderful sister, sweet Sandee! I know Larry is very proud of you for getting his message out! This horrible disease really does need to be erradicated and education is one of the perfect ways to start that happening. :)

Love You!!

martha brown said...

Yikes, Sandee -- these numbers are indeed sobering. I agree that your brother would be very proud of you for helping --- Thank you for reminding us all -- I'm definitely making a donation.

misspvc said...

Sandee I feel your pain one of my dearest friends Michael died very painfully of HIV/AID's in 1999 and I was one of his only hospital visitors...back then...most of his "friends" (the very people who had introduced me to Michael and one had been his partner for many years...) wouldn't go to the hospital...even when they knew he wouldn't make it home again...they said it was too painful for them...sad really... he was terrific right to the end... I kept him company and kept up his spirits as much as I could until his family was able to fly out from Florida and Chicago...it is a terrible, debilitating disease....but I wouldn't have missed a moment of what I was able to share with him..and went to see him everyday....I wished his life were not over...Thank you for spreading awareness and raising money for research and I pray that one day soon there will be a cure! huge hugs
Patti V

Lou McCulloch said...

I also lost my brother to AIDS, in 1997. It was the most devestating time of my life. I miss him so much. This is a great way to remember him. Thanks, Sandee. ~Lou

theDiva said...

thank you for this Sandee. I've lost more friends than I have fingers to count, each one remembered in a square for the AIDS quilt.

I miss them too and want to pass along this blessing...

May the Peace that passes understanding enter your Heart, reside in your Soul and move through You into the World.

Mija said...

sending love and blessings to you sweet Sandee! your loving tribute to your brother deeply touches my heart. your love and respect for him shine through your words. thank you dear one. XOOX