My name is Ramona Belfiore and I am a Youth Ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I advocate and speak on behalf of the Foundation because I know the Foundation’s work can truly change the life of an HIV-positive child.
It changed mine.
In 1990, my adoptive parents visited a small orphanage in Romania. All the children there, including me, had contracted HIV through tainted blood transfusions. Although the staff did the best they could, conditions were abominable and medical attention was not available. My parents were so moved by their visit that they decided to adopt not just me, but three other HIV-infected children. Just this past July 28 I celebrated my 17-year anniversary of being in the United States.
Today, I am 21 years old—and like my siblings, I am healthy. Every day, we see what the power of love combined with the critical work of the Foundation can achieve: The medicine my siblings and I need is possible because of the work of the Foundation. By educating people and raising awareness, the Foundation has made my daily life much easier. Most of all, I am not afraid to talk about HIV and AIDS.
I challenge you to join me and the Foundation as we raise voices and awareness. Together, we can eliminate the stigma of HIV and AIDS, save the lives of children, and create a generation free of HIV.
You can start by recruiting your friends and family to the Generation Free Campaign at www.causes.com/HIVFREE. It’s so easy - I’ve already recruited 158 people, which is almost 30% of all my friends! To say thank you for your hard work, the Foundation will even reward August’s top recruiter with a weekender bag full of hair products from Biolage (check it out here: http://pedaids.org/getdoc/5c3146ab-f7fd-42f0-9c52-6e7c6d420989/Marketplace.aspx#biolage).
Thank you for being a voice for families like mine and for supporting the Foundation’s work to create a generation free of HIV. You are making it possible for kids like me to lead happy, healthy lives. You have made this moment possible.