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Living with AIDS

THE REAL CELEBRITY

There are those who think there should be a movie showing the life of Rock Hudson. We are sure that this will be done before long. The life of Rock Hudson was such a beautiful career on the screen. But his sickness and death did more for the benefit of those who are involved in the phenomenon called Aids than, perhaps, any other single event or person that we can think of, with the possible exception of Ryan White.

Celebrity has certainly contributed mightily to our cause. Celebrity is a very broad concept, of course, and includes such people as Ryan White. mentioned before, who only became a celebrity after he contracted Aids. But his name and his foundation have done so very much for many thousands of people who have had HIV/AIDS.

We want to spend just a few moments to say, also, that no matter how many Rock Hudsons and Ryan Whites you have who speak from the vantage point of being “one of us” who has had the illness, it takes the support of others like Elizabeth Taylor and others who are not ill with Aids (as far as we know) but who feel a kinship and love for those who are sick and for those who administer the medicine and love – doctors, nurses, researchers, social workers, care givers, hospice workers, and many others.

And so we thank God for celebrities who lend their popularity and fame to bring money and awareness and support to our cause.

But let us quickly say that the real celebrity is the person who gets up every morning knowing that he/she has this illness and yet commits himself to face the day with all the pain and difficulty that the rest of us can only try to appreciate as best we can by knowing the patient and listening and watching. And this is true of folks who have so many other illnesses and not just Aids. No matter how close we try to get to the patient and how much we love them and try to understand what they are going through, we must admit that, at the very best, we are still on the outside looking in. Many of us who have loved ones who suffer illness would gladly trade places with them in a minute if we could. But we simply can not do it. And so we honor the patient as sincerely as we know how And we honor him as the real celebrity – the one who meets every day with the best he has and keps on living as long and as well as the virus will let him. There just isn’t any way to fully give all of the credit that this person deserves. But maybe it will help him/her on those days when things are really rough, to know that we appreciate, as fully as we are able, how much credit he deserves for giving his best efforts in such a difficult and painful and demanding task that he faces from morning until night and then all night long. You ARE the true celebrity!