Supporter of the Week: Kate Davidson

Each week, we will highlight a magnanimous Subaru driver who assists those affected by HIV/AIDS in their community. 

Kate Davidson, Volunteer/Communications Manager at House of Ruth in Louisville, KY

How long have you been a Subaru owner? I’ve been a proud owner of a Subaru Forester since December 2001. My Mom also owns a new Outback, which is her second Subaru and my brother used to drive an Outback too.

How do you help those affected by HIV/AIDS in your community? I am a Volunteer/Communications Manager at House of Ruth, a nonprofit organization that strengthens the lives of those with or affected by HIV/AIDS. My time is spent engaging community members in our mission and managing our print and online communications.

How do you use your Subaru vehicle to help? I use my Forester for work 5+ days a week, not only for basic transportation, but also for hauling materials for House of Ruth events like the Louisville AIDS Walk and Pet Walk, the Kentuckiana Pride Parade and Dining Out For Life. Because my Forester holds much more than a sedan, I use it whenever we need to move items like Dining Out For Life materials, donations for our Clothes Closet…and volunteers, too!


Are you a Subaru driver and Dining Out For Life advocate? Have you used your Subaru to distribute Dining Out For Life flyers, pick up friends for dinner on the big night or in some other creative way? Send your story and photos to laura@15minutesinc.com.

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“My Life, As I Knew It, Was In Danger Of Coming To An End” AIDS Service Organization Puts One Man’s Life Back On Track

Lifelong AIDS Alliance in Seattle, WA, is just one of the many AIDS Service Organizations throughout the country bettering the lives of its clients each and every day. We had the opportunity to interview one client, Jeffrey Smith, about the life-saving services of Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

 

 

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? How did you end up in Seattle, Washington? What are some of your hobbies? What’s something you would like us to know about you?

A: I’m originally from Charleston, S.C. In 1987 a friend who I met while he was in the Navy (stationed in Charleston) returned to his home here in Seattle (Tacoma, actually). He became ill, and I moved out here to be with him. It was my first funeral. I fell in love with Seattle and never left. I love film and theater, thrift-store shopping, and decorating with mid-century modern.

 

Q: How long have you been a client with Lifelong AIDS Alliance?

A: I became a client in October of 2000 when the agency was known as the Northwest AIDS Foundation.

 

Q: What are some of the services that you receive from Lifelong AIDS Alliance?

A: I was terribly ill when I sought help. I’ve used just about every service available – emergency fund, housing advocate, transportation, meal and grocery delivery and pick-up, case management, will-call, etc.

 

Q: What motivated you to seek the services of Lifelong AIDS Alliance?

A: My life, as I knew it, was in danger of coming to an end. The agency did everything to put me back on a track to normalcy.

 

Q: Do you volunteer or participate at fundraisers like Dining Out for Life or the HIV/AIDS Walk?

A: Yes – I have been a kitchen/warehouse volunteer for five years. I also assist with the will-call program and volunteer at special events.

 

Q: How has HIV/AIDS personally affected you?

A: I have lost too many friends and acquaintances to count – that, combined with my own brush with death, I would say affected me quite profoundly.

 

Q: How have you seen Lifelong AIDS Alliance help other clients?

A: I have seen an impact on the quality of life in a very positive way – from counseling and case management (dealing with bureaucracy), grocery and meals, even entertainment.

 

Q: How is HIV/AIDS awareness received in Seattle? Do you think the community is well educated about the disease, or would you like to see more education throughout the city?

A: Seattle is pretty progressive. I would like to think the community is fairly well-educated, but it could just be the circles I’m in. I suppose there is always room for improvement.

 

 

Q: Dining Out for Life is a great fundraiser that contributes directly to Lifelong AIDS Alliance. What would you say to the people of Seattle to encourage them to participate in the event?

A: We all have to eat. Dining out might just be for special occasions, but why not, if you can, choose a restaurant with a social conscience that gives back to the community.

 

Q: Tell us how Lifelong AIDS Alliance has impacted your life. If you can, please give an example of how or when they helped you, or the service or treatment you appreciate the most.

A: In the last (almost) 12 years, I have been on the receiving end of so much assistance and genuine care it is hard to list them all. What strikes me is the wonderful, caring, giving attitude and positive encouragement. I am really glad that by volunteering for the last five years I have been able to give something back.

 

 

The 19th annual Dining Out for Life in Seattle, WA, will be on April 26, and all proceeds donated will go directly to Lifelong AIDS Alliance, the organization that is helping Jeffrey Smith, and countless others, in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“99% died within a year in the beginning. They were our brothers, our peers.”

Julian DiCiuricio was there when the first AIDS bombshell dropped, and shared with us his experiences –and what motivates him to continue to be on the forefront of the fight against AIDS.

The world was forever altered in 1981. People were dying and no one understood why. In the midst of the fear and uncertainty, ordinary people rose to the challenge, to help, to comfort, to fight.

Ground Zero of the epidemic was the San Francisco Bay Area. The city was devastated by a mysterious illness that had never been seen before. “99% died within a year in the beginning. They were our brothers, our peers.”

The medical field struggled for answers and the community struggled for help. Despite the risk, people banded together to provide comfort and services to those who were ill. During this traumatic period DiCiuricio found a cause he would continue working for to this very day.

During the onset of the crisis DiCiuricio and twelve others formed Aris, an organization designed to provide emotional and practical support to people infected and their loved ones. Though they were unsure of what to do, they did what they could. “We did what needed to be done.”

DiCiuricio and others volunteered their time to help HIV/AIDS patients, by driving them to doctors’ appointments, helping them around the house or sometimes just lending a sympathetic ear. “A lot of people don’t listen and give someone else permission to talk.”

His experiences in San Francisco in the 1980s ignited a life-long passion for DiCiuricio, a passion for helping in the fight against AIDS. “In my heart, I have this connection to HIV/AIDS.”

DiCiuricio retired ten years ago and moved to Palm Springs where he continued to volunteer in the fight against AIDS, joining the Desert AIDS Project (DAP). “DAP is an exemplary facility; people travel for their services.”

He now coordinates the “Care Team” at DAP, works one day a week at one of the five DAP resale stores, and works one day a week at the front desk of the administration office.

DiCiuricio is also a yearly ambassador for Dining Out for Life. DAP’s Dining Out for Life will be on April 26 this year, and DiCiuricio will be an ambassador at Tony Marchese’s TRIO restaurant, continuing his advocacy that started more than 30 years ago in San Fran.

Why Do You Dine Out?

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Why Dine Out? Jeremy Applebaum ~ Getting Involved, Other Than Donations

“Housing is healthcare” is the slogan of AIDS Alabama, focusing on getting roofs over the heads of Alabama residents affected by HIV/AIDS. Member of the Board Directors and Birmingham native Jeremy Applebaum backs this sentiment, saying “Housing is healthcare, and there are a lot of people that are sick that aren’t getting the healthcare they need.”

“When they do have housing, they’re getting better healthcare.”

Between 2008 and 2009, the organization was able to provide 90,000 nights of safe housing to people living with HIV/AIDS. Last year, the number jumped to an impressive 181,000 nights of safe and affordable housing. AIDS Alabama relies on grants, fundraisers like Dining Out for Life, and volunteers like Applebaum to continue to expand its reach.

Applebaum became involved in AIDS Alabama about 2 years ago, motivated by his father. “My dad passed away and one of his regrets was not getting involved [in the community], other than donations,” Applebaum said.

“When I was younger, there was a lot of focus on AIDS,” but the focus on the disease has since stopped, Applebaum recalls. He jumped into helping AIDS Alabama by volunteering for DOFL. “The first thing I did was Dining Out for Life,” Applebaum said. Later, he became involved in a development committee, and then last year became a member of the board of directors.

Applebaum hopes to see Dining Out for Life help provide additional housing to those in need. “I would love to see an expansion of the housing, and more fundraising for housing.”

This year, Birmingham residents should dine out for life because “it doesn’t cost any more [than if you were going out to eat anyway],” Applebaum said. “It helps a great organization; it supports AIDS Alabama and local restaurants.”

The Dine Out For Life family thanks Mr. Applebaum for all of his support and dedication to the FIGHT against AIDS and we encourage everyone to learn more about  AIDS Alabama connect with them  Facebook and Twitter.

If you want to share your own Dine Out For Life story send us an email: DOFL@chatterblast.com. To connect with our community, follow us on Twitter at @Dineout4life and like us on Facebook!

 

~Dine Out & Make A Difference~