On May 19th, 2004 I received a letter from my doctor letting me know that I had tested positive for the HIV virus. At the time I was unemployed, and had no idea of where to turn to or what to do next. I was scared, angry, afraid, shaken, and a bunch of other emotions were flying around my head. I knew people that were HIV+ but never thought it could happen to me.
The first thing that I did was contact Cascade AIDS Project. A friend of mine told me about the services that they provide; especially for newly diagnosed HIV people. I met the next day with a counselor who was also HIV+. He told me his story, how he felt when he found out he was positive, and I immediately felt like someone else understood what I was feeling and that I wasn't as alone. He told me how to get into CAREAssist, to get food assistance, rental assistance, support groups, and so much more.
I was fortunate enough to get Dr. James Sampson as my HIV doctor who immediately got me on medications and helped me understand more about my health, the disease, and what my options were.
In 2008 I came to Our House as the Events Manager. At the time I had not talked to a lot of people about being HIV positive and still felt a lot of the shame and stigma that people face with the disease. Now 8 years later I have found my voice thanks, in part, to the staff, volunteers, donors, residents, community partners and others involved with and who support Our House. My husband has stood by me the entire time and been a rock of support; as have my friends and many others.
Now it is my turn to give back to two of the agencies that have helped me the most - Cascade AIDS Project and Our House. On Saturday, September 10th I will join thousands of people for the 2016 AIDS Walk at Fields Park. For those of you who have walked with us before you know the feeling that this event brings and how amazing it is to see everyone out there for a single cause. If you have not do ne the walk before, please consider joining our team.
Cascade AIDS Project has offered to give Our House 60% of every dollar that we raise. In the last 5 years we have raised $24,425.57 with donations that the walkers have received at AIDS Walk. Your donation not only goes to help with the programs and services that CAP provides but also those we do at Our House.
This will be my 9th year doing AIDS Walk for Our House and my 12th year as an HIV+ male. I truly believe in what this walk means and the effect that it has in our community.
Thank you in advance for your support and have a great week!
Director of Development
Incorporated in 1985, CAP the oldest and largest AIDS Service Organization in Oregon and Southwest Washington. 2016 marks the 29th Annual AIDS Walk Portland.
Cascade AIDS Project is a 501 c(3) organization.
Tax ID # 93-0903383