I support SHH because the mission is near and dear to my heart. My uncle passed away in the early 1990’s due to complications related to AIDS after moving back from San Francisco where he worked as a dentist. I never got to know him well and although my memories of him are brief and vague, they are special to me. He passed at Bailey Boushay in 1993. Royden did not have a memorial service of any sort nor an obituary in the local newspaper because of the shame/stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in a small, conservative farming town. SHH provides exactly that – compassion. Nobody should be alone in dark days, plain and simple. Recent advances in retroviral therapy and preventative measures like PrEP give me hope but cannot bring back those who suffered and passed like my Uncle Royden. My work at SHH is in a way a tribute to the uncle and role model I never got the chance to know.
SHH provides compassion for low income individuals who likely have nowhere else to turn and betters the quality of life for residents. My goal for residents is to ensure that not just their basic needs are met (thinking Maslow here), but that residents feel safe, have a sense of belonging and feel loved, and a heightened self-esteem. My goal for the House itself in the future is to endure, even if our mission creeps – it’s inevitable that one day our focus will change. As long as we remember Sean’s words “…who don’t have what we have…family, medical insurance, friends and adequate finances,” I believe we will endure and continue to have a purpose, even when cure is found.