The story of you and your business/project/craft.
Three years ago I decided that I needed to do my part within the HIV/AIDS community so I made a commitment to do the AIDS Walk Buffalo. I have been HIV+ for 22 years now. I never had the courage to stand up for myself to tell the world my story. Since I started the AIDS Walk and working at Evergreen Health I started to see how other people were dealing with their illness and still living and enjoying their lives. Being at Evergreen has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking and a new way of living and I love being able to share my story with others that are going through the same issues as me. My role at Evergreen as a Retention Support Assistant is to help others get through their barriers, assisting them with services that they may need, and most importantly giving them the experience, strength, and the hope that is needed to continue our journey in life. I want other people to see that we can live long healthy lives.
At this point in my life I have many roles. I am a mother, grandmother, sister, friend, a mentor, and hopefully an inspiration to others that anything is possible in life. Last year I became one of the spokesmodel for the HIV Stops with Me campaign for the Buffalo region. Through that platform I am also able to deliver that message of hope that is still so badly needed in this community. Today I am blessed with all these opportunities to help others. I will forever be eternally grateful to AIDS Walk Buffalo, Evergreen Health, and the HIV Stops with Me campaign for all of their love and support, it could not be possible without it.
Where do you find your inspiration? What about Buffalo inspires you/your business?
My inspiration comes from watching other people be able to push through their struggles and come out the other side. It shows me that if they can do it, I also can do whatever I put my mind to. Others show me that when we stick together through our struggles they are easier to overcome. Buffalo has a sense of community that I don’t really hear about in other areas. People come together for the greater good. We help each other, we lift each other up when it is most needed and I have seen that at the AIDS Walk Buffalo every year since I started participating in it. My inspiration comes from others.
Your go-to words of encouragement.
In order to keep going I always tell myself that “This to shall pass.” I try to remember my struggles, and how I have overcome so many. I also believe that there is a Higher Power that is constantly working in my life so on many days I pray for the strength to push forward. I pay attention to the many blessing that have been bestowed upon me.
What would you tell a younger version of yourself?
The younger version of myself is a scared little girl that has always believed that nobody loved her and that there was no hope for her. If I saw her today I would tell her to hold on, keep fighting, and never give up on herself. I would say that life is going to be filled with let downs, disappointments, and heartaches. People will betray her and there will be days when she will feel like she is all alone. It will be through these times where she will learn about strength and perseverance. Her life is going to be filled with people that love her, that are inspired by her, and ones that count on her for strength and her love. I would tell her that the struggle will be worth it at the end. Her life is going to be filled with adventure and new experiences beyond her wildest dreams. She will eventually see that anything is possible as long as she continues to fight for what she wants, stays out of her own way, and not to allow others to get in her way.
Favorite Buffalo stuff.
One of my favorite things about Buffalo are the cultural festivals that take place during the summer. Events like the Hispanic Festival, Pride Week, and Italian Festival, just to name a few. These yearly events seem to bring people together and enjoy life as a community.
I am truly honored for this opportunity to represent the HIV/AIDS community, the Hispanic community, and for the ones that will never get the chance to tell their story.