“Remarkable Transformations” by Dr. Lorna Adams

"I am HIV POSITIVE and I am on treatment"

Dr. Lorna Adams writes…Very soon it will be December 1, World Aids Day.  A time to once again think about the pandemic in Africa, the management of it and the devastation of it.  We can think about the ways that we in this amazing country of Canada can help those that are working to support people living with HIV/AIDS, to decrease the new infection rate and to treat adults and children already infected.

I have worked with both organizations that Give a Day supports, both directly in Malawi with Dignitas International, and indirectly with the Stephen Lewis Foundation.  I have seen the remarkable transformation that occurs when people are able to be treated with the appropriate medications, and when grandmothers are assisted in raising their grandchildren who have been orphaned by the illness of their parents. I have seen when people are able to overcome the stigma of an AIDS diagnosis, and go out in public to openly assist those currently trapped with the shame and stigma of the diagnosis.

I met this woman on a bus in Zimbabwe, a country thoroughly traumatized by an ineffectual government, and the AIDS pandemic.  The stigma of the disease is reinforced by the limited access to effective treatment.  Once people are on treatment, have put on some weight, have returned to work, and have regained a sense of dignity and control of their lives, they are much more comfortable letting others know of their diagnosis, and encouraging others to come forward to be tested and treated.  I asked her if I could take her picture, and use it to assist in raising awareness and funds to fight the pandemic.  I told her that it meant that this picture would be public, for all to see.  She looked at me, and smiled, and said, “I am already advertising my HIV positive status with my shirt, Madam”.  Yes, I said, and thank you.

Please, consider the amazing change that your donation of just one day’s pay could effect for so many of those affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

This guest post is contributed by Dr. Lorna Adams. She is a physician currently working at Southlake Regional Health Centre and a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres/MSF).  She recently returned from working with MSF in South Sudan.

Welcome to New President and CEO of Dignitas International

In 2004 Dr. Jane Philpott founded Give a Day by inviting colleagues to donate one day’s pay to great organizations working in response to HIV.  To date, Give a Day has raised over $3 million to assist the people and places most affected by HIV.

Photo by Craig Passfield, Dignitas International

On December 1, World AIDS Day 2012, we will once again encourage Canadians to give one day’s pay to any organization of their choice  they know is doing good work to assist those living with HIV.  At Give a Day we are proud to recommend two excellent Canadian recipient organizations – The Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International.  Both the SLF and Dignitas have their own focus and strong record of success responding to HIV at a grassroots level.

Over the years we have been inspired both by the successes of these two organizations, and by the many individual Africans and Canadians who team up to carry out this work. Today we would like to congratulate Dignitas International on the announcement of their new President and CEO, Marilyn McHarg. Marilyn brings with her more than 20 years of medical humanitarian experience, most recently as the Executive Director of Médecins Sans Frontières – Canada. (MSF-Canada) You can read more here about Marilyn McHarg and also about the groundbreaking new HIV research that Dignitas is about to embark on in Malawi.  We congratulate Dignitas and welcome Marilyn!

Would You Give a Day to Save a Life?

Today’s Globe and Mail features an interview with Give a Day founder, Dr. Jane Philpott. Our thanks to author Farah Mohamed for highlighting the way a simple idea can light a fire when we join together.

You can read the entire article here, but I’ll leave you with a little taste!

When asked who her heroes were, Jane responded: “In great stories of human progress, we often focus on the great leaders of these important moments in history, but we forget that behind every great name, there are usually thousands of children, women and men who have laboured to make progress possible. Their faces are unknown, their stories are untold, their voices are unheard. But they are my heroes.”

First Give a Night Ottawa a Great Success!

Organizing Committee- Give a Night Ottawa

On Sunday, December 4, 2011, Ottawa area lawyers, articling students and other young professionals gathered at Social Restaurant and Lounge for cocktails, mingling and most importantly, to support an amazing cause.

Hosted by Ottawa articling students, and graciously supported by the Ottawa community, the FIRST ever and SOLD out Give a Night debuted outside the Toronto market. Glamorously-dressed guests were treated to a “red-carpet” experience, complete with photographer, DJ, and an incredible list of silent auction items. VIP booths were also provided to marquee sponsors Norton Rose OR LLP, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.

As you can see from these photographs, the young professionals in attendance certainly demonstrated how to “party with a purpose”. From the inevitable bidding wars that ensued, to the stimulating conversations that sprung around the ambient event area, the night provided several memorable experiences for all that attended.

The event was wildly successful, generating over $4, 000 for the Give a Day campaign. Due to the fantastic response garnered by Give a Night Ottawa, the organizing committee has already set its sights on a bigger and more successful event next year.

Make sure not to miss Give a Night 2012, Ottawa!

St. Aloyisius Gonzaga Secondary School Goes Red for World AIDS Day

St. Aloysius Gonzaga school-wide ribbon of Hope. Photo by Andrew Motyliwski

Mary Schroder, teacher at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School writes…The school community of St. Aloysius Gonzaga celebrated AIDS Awareness week and World AIDS Day.

The week began with a school-wide video presentation on HIV/AIDS, and continued with daily reflections and cupcake sales in the cafeteria.

A guest speaker from “Give a Day to World AIDS”, Jacob Philpott, spoke to a packed theatre and inspired the students with his experiences in Uganda. The week culminated with a red ribbon campaign, where each classroom door was decorated with a huge red ribbon and AIDS reflection. Students and staff wore red on Dec. 1st and created a school-wide human ribbon of Hope.

Funds raised will be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
It is my hope that one day all schools will participate in World AIDS Day and raise funds for an AIDS charity of their choice.