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Susan Lerch via Crowdrise
November 24, 2011
Dearest Friends & Family –
This is the time of year we join together to give thanks for all the amazing loved ones in our lives and our many blessings. This year I am asking you to join Dan and me in supporting a remarkable grassroots effort, World AIDS Day Detroit, with a special gift.
Nearly 30 years ago I began my social services career with the Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan. Early in my career, the HIV/AIDS crisis devastated families already impacted by hemophilia. Ryan White, a courageous and wise teenage boy with hemophilia and AIDS was ostracized by his community and became a rather unlikely ‘spokesperson’ for people with AIDS. Ryan believed we need to treat all people impacted by AIDS with compassion not fear. Ryan’s message is reminiscent of an extraordinary wish by a teenage girl, early in my 13 years of service as the President & CEO (Fairy Godmother!) of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. ‘Alex’s Wish’ a public service announcement was a beautiful message created to encourage us: “…so the next time you see a kid with cancer, or anyone who looks a little different, try a smile, we could use one.”
Ryan and Alex represent so many extraordinary people who have left us too soon. Yet, these teens, and so many people I’ve had the privilege to know, had remarkable messages to share with those of us left behind.
Thursday, December 1st Ryan White’s mom, Jeanne White-Ginder, will be with us at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit to share Ryan’s Story.
It is stunning for me to realize that AIDS has been with us for 30 years, this is the 20th anniversary of the Ryan White Care Act, and the teenage Ryan would be 40 years old.
Please support World AIDS Day Detroit! I invite you to visit our website: www.worldaidsdaydetroit.com A completely grassroots, volunteer effort, your financial gift to World AIDS Day Detroit (care of Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan, serving as our fiduciary agency) in any amount will make a significant difference. My deepest and heartfelt appreciation to you. Together, we can make our local communities and our world a more loving and healthy place for generations to come!
**World AIDS Day Detroit is a partnership of existing non-profits. The Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan (HFM) is the WADD fiduciary and will issue tax receipts for charitable contributions to WADD. HFM was chosen as fiduciary because it is fiscally strong with an annual budget of over 2.5 million dollars and has been named one of the best managed non-profits by Crain’s Detroit Business Magazine. All contributions made to WADD are restricted for use by the WADD committee and any net proceeds will be returned to organizations that provide services to the HIV/AIDS community.