December 31, 2010

December 31, 2010
New Year's Eve

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and it is also the last day of 2010. I hope you have been having a safe and great week so far.

The end of the year makes us reflect over the happenings of the last year. For Dab the AIDS Bear and I, it has been a very busy year. This year, we were at 25 AIDS walks, 30 LGBT Pride events, 11 HIV/AIDS conferences, 6 AIDS Rides, 28 fund raisers, 20 health fairs and of course all of our events for children with HIV and AIDS. All in all, we were at least at 150 events or basically one event every two days of the year. No wonder I am so tired as I do this last blog for the year.

We have had the thrill of meeting so many people around the world. Many of whom have shared their own personal story about HIV and AIDS. We have also had the sadness of losing 14 friends during the year. People like Mike Stacey, Randy Allgaier, Thom Duncan and Clint Waters that we have known for years.

It has been a rough year for Americans with HIV and AIDS. We have had ADAP waiting lists all year long which threatens the health of people with HIV and AIDS. While many are able to get help through Patient Assistance Programs, no American man or women should have to be put through the stress of wondering whether they can get their life saving medications.

This was the first year, people with HIV and AIDS in Florida have had to worry due to an ADAP waiting lists. Not only did we have to start an ADAP waiting lists but we have over 2,400 men and women on there. I hoped I would never have to see the day even though I had warned people since 2003.

There have also been many high points this year. Dab the AIDS Bear and I were the grand marshals at several HIV/AIDS events, a speaker at many others and have received so much love from our community. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming with some of the wonderful messages we receive.

But by far, the most important thing is the love and hugs we get from children with HIV and AIDS at our Teddy Bear Touchdowns around the world. The hugs and smiles are the best gifts I receive every year. I just hope my god-daughter, Candace, can see all the smiles and laughter of kids like her from heaven. Because all of this happens in her memory.

Here is a slide show featuring pictures from our last Teddy Bear Touchdown for 2010:

What is next for Dab the AIDS Bear and I? Well it is going to be another very busy year. With the ADAP program in Florida going bankrupt and endangering over 10,000 men and women with HIV and AIDS, we are going to be busy meeting with elected officials about emergency funding.

We will also be busy working with the Department of Health developing new HIV/AIDS prevention programs and working to improve the quality of service provided to our community. We will also be on the road almost all year speaking at the AIDS Walks, Rides, Conferences, fund raisers and health fairs.

People have asked if I have resolution for the New Year. The only one I can think of is to continue to work to make sure every American man and woman who needs life saving HIV medications has access to them. With the way the last decade went that is a full time job.

So I hope you have a safe and great New Year's Eve. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab