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November 30, 2012

I Remember...and I Look Forward

I'd like to take a moment today to honor the memory of the many thousands of partners/husbands/wives, brothers/sisters, fathers/mothers, friends and colleagues that have perished from AIDS and to remember those who cared for them. As I reflect on this horrific disease, the opening song from "RENT", Season's Of Love, comes to mind...

George (right) and his friend Brad
who passed away from AIDS.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes...

...How do you measure the life
Of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned,
Or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died.
It's time now to sing out,
Tho' the story never ends
Let's celebrate...Remember a year in the life of friends

I recall a time when a diagnosis was a certain death sentence - when an individual diagnosed with AIDS wouldn't see another five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes.  I recall public concern over how the virus was transmitted and the stigma attached to the words "GRID", "AID", "AIDS", leaving those afflicted to feel like outcasts, often turned away by family and friends and often left jobless and homeless.  I recall visiting friends in the hospital, required to wear face masks and paper gowns...I remember...and I look forward.

For me, hundreds of thousands of minutes have passed since the disease was first identified to the general public in 1982.  And as I try to forget the pain and suffering of my dear friends, I see minutes of hope and promise where there once were none.  Minutes of pain and loneliness - turned to minutes of hope with the advent of AZT and then DDI, then to the triumphs of protease inhibitors that prolonged life, and now the discovery and combination of entry inhibitors and integrase inhibitors or "ARTs " (anti-retroviral therapies) - that have made HIV/AIDS more manageable and no longer an automatic death sentence.

I've had the honor to know many of those who have passed before us as a result of this terrible illness, and I know that each one of those people would be proud of the continued work that we do here at Food & Friends.

You may not recall the first CDC announcement in June 1982  - - but, as supporters of Food & Friends, you truly provide the love and support that so many have cherished along this response to a terrible illness that continues to afflict so many.

How have you been affected by HIV/AIDS? What does World AIDS Day mean to you? Share your story with us by commenting on this blog or by posting on our Facebook wall.

Photo courtesy of
David Kelly Crow
George A. Bednar, CPA, Deputy Executive Director, Finance & Administration

As Deputy Executive Director, George has oversight of the organization’s finance, human resources and facilities management activities. George holds a BA in accounting from Washington and Jefferson College and is a Certified Public Accountant.  He lives in Washington, DC, with his partner, Chip Wheeler.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this remembrance with a wider audience, George. It reminds me of the many clients who I had the good fortune to work with while on the staff of F&F and how they struggled. I'm still keeping the faith that we'll see an end to AIDS in my lifetime.

    Take care.