January 15, 2010

January 15, 2010
Alice Heard
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Friday and we have almost made it through another week. Hope you have had a safe and great week.

It is almost back to the normal warm temperatures here in South Florida. I know many of my friends are not so lucky and are still dealing with freezing temperatures. So I will not go on too much about the great weather being in the 50s at night at the 70s during the day.

What I would like to talk about is this month's Dab the AIDS Bear Angel. Our Angel for January is Alice Heard. We are honored to recognize all Alice does for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Alice has been on the board of directors of Dab the AIDS Bear Project since 2008. She was also the co-chairperson for our Jacksonville Teddy Bear Touchdown for children with HIV and AIDS in 2009.

In 2006, some magnificent volunteers and Alice created the ROSE support later to become the ROSE Peer Education Group. The ROSE meaning Talking Helping & Educating while Raising Oneness with Sisters Everywhere is a group of women infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS that meet twice a month. This group has changed the lives of women by helping, talking and educating about HIV and AIDS. First by providing a safe, confidential place where women can freely talk about their status and all of the every day trials, issues and concerns with their peers and people that truly care about them which is emotionally satisfying. Then helping each other (peer to peer) has taught them that lending a hand to their peer is more rewarding than receiving. Helping is not monetary, it can be sharing of resource, information and/or oneself which goes a lot further. Last of all by educating the women on all aspects of the HIV/AIDS virus from medical adherence, HIV 101 - 104, disclosure, condom negotiations skills, stigma, HIV politics and more has created powerful and self assured women. And from there the THORNS (Talking, Helping & Education Through Heads Organizing with Responsibility, Nuture and Strength) was created. The THORNS is a group for men infected and/or affected by the HIV/AIDS virus which is now meeting once a month.

Alice talks to people who are infected and/or affected by HIV and AIDS on a daily basis. As a Prevention Training Consultant, she wants everyone to know that HIV is preventable. While there is no cure, HIV is treatable. she wants to work on educating the world about HIV and AIDS and that people are dying from it every day.

Last year, Alice lost four wonderful friends from complications due to AIDS. It affected over a million lives in the United States alone.

She has also seen the stigma and have had many tell me they have been out casted by their own families because of their HIV status. Her dream is to educate everyone she comes into contact with to not only help stop the spread of this disease but also the stigma. Sometimes the stigma can be more harmful than the virus itself.

Alice reminds everyone to remember to hug your special someone with HIV today.

For these and many more reason, we are honored to name Alice Heard as our Dab the AIDS Bear's Angel for January 2010.

Hope you have a great weekend.

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

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab