Thank you for being an ally in the critical work Realize has done over the years in pioneering new ways to improve the daily lives of people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities. Since 1998, we have been a leader and a catalyst for improved access to rehabilitation services, including mental health supports. We’ve been at the forefront of thinking about episodic disability, the concerns of HIV and aging, and access to employment and income supports for people living with HIV and other conditions.
I don’t need to tell you that people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities can face significant challenges to living well and living fully. We focus on understanding these challenges and how rehabilitation – including care, treatment and support – can manage them.
Continuing breakthroughs in medical treatment have brought hope to millions of women, men and children living with HIV around the world. These breakthroughs should be celebrated but the overwhelming focus on medical advancement and treatment has created the idea that the end of AIDS is in sight. (Similar advancements are changing how other episodic illnesses are treated and perceived publically.) There has been less attention on what it means to live with HIV and other conditions.
Two months ago, at our annual Realize Forum, I sat in a hotel conference room listening to, interacting with and learning from people living with HIV, front line workers from community-based HIV organizations, representatives from other health NGOs , researchers and many others.
At times there was a sense of exhaustion and frustration in the room. People felt stretched and expressed anger that the social and economic challenges of living with HIV and other conditions are being ignored. People are being told everything should be OK, when they know it’s not!
But, there was hope, inspiration, insight, new and renewed energy too at the Forum! We heard of innovative approaches in mental health services being pioneered by HIV care organizations that might be replicated elsewhere with the proper support. We learned of important new studies in the role organized fitness regimes can play in the mental wellness and resilience of people living with HIV and other disabilities. And much more!
This is what Realize does! Along with our own ground-breaking research and training, we bring together key actors from the worlds of HIV and episodic disability to forge new ways ahead in care, rehabilitation, and support – we create and champion the space for innovation!
To do this, we also need champions!
November 28, 2017, Realize is launching the most ambitious private fundraising campaign in our history – a campaign to ensure that this critical work continues, expands and creates the spark of change so needed in how we address HIV and other episodic disabilities in Canada and around the world.
We need you!
Your donation of $75, $100, or even $150 today, will allow Realize to forge a National Network on HIV and Mental Health we’ve been urged to convene (create) to provide support to those on the frontlines of the response. It will help Realize ramp up our innovative training for Managers and HR professionals to find new ways to integrate people living with HIV and other episodic disabilities into the workforce. It will allow Realize to intersect the separate worlds of HIV, episodic illness and those involved in care for the aging – critical work that no one else is addressing and will continue to become ever more important!