My friend Henry was a charmer. He had a beautiful “Lowcountry” accent and could tell the most engaging and hilarious stories. He was a volunteer in early AIDS work and the first person to educate me about AIDS and how it was impacting people in Charlotte. Over time, he became the older brother I never had and it broke my heart when he died from AIDS. His influence is one of the key reasons I started RAIN.
Many of you have told me similar stories about the people who’ve influenced you and why you care so deeply about HIV/AIDS.
Most of the people RAIN serves have incomes of less than $13,000. Many are homeless, and a growing number are younger than 25 years old. The majority need help with transportation, housing, medication, counseling and support groups. RAIN is currently facing a funding gap due to Sequestration (Federal spending cuts), so funds raised from this year’s AIDS Walk are especially critical.
N.C. Governor Pat McCrory’s state budget proposes an $8 million cut to ADAP, the program that provides life-saving medications to low-income North Carolinian citizens living with HIV/AIDS. More than 6,500 people access medication through the program, and RAIN assists local HIV-positive people with eligibility and applications. We are taking local advocates to Raleigh on April 9 to show support for full funding of ADAP. Please stay informed about the issues impacting HIV at www.ncaan.org.
May all be healed, may all be comforted and may all be loved.
- Debbie Warren, Founder, President & CEO