Thursday, December 2, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

As most of you may already know, yesterday was World AIDS Day, a date that is very near to the heart of the Hoops of Hope team, participants, hosts, volunteers, donors, and partners. Because the UN estimates that every 14 seconds a child loses a parent to HIV/AIDS, we work toward helping in an area of our world most devastatingly affected by the AIDS pandemic. Donations received at events all around the globe go toward helping ease the pain of living in such an area. Orphans are getting much needed assistance and education, and even more exciting, some children now even get to have their parents around longer because of the medication they now receive to treat their disease!

This past June I had a chance to travel to Zambia with the rest of the Hoops of Hope team. While there, we visited a High School and a medical clinic, both of which were paid for with Hoops of Hope donations. I could tell you story after story of how lives have been changed, and how the people in those areas have benefited from individuals who set aside time and put forth the effort to care for them by shooting some free throws.

There’s one story in particular that I'd like to share with you in light of World AIDS Day. It's about a 10 year old boy named Orlando. I got to visit him in his home where he lives with his grandma and 3 brothers because his parents both died from HIV/AIDS. Orlando also has AIDS. He told me that not long ago he thought he would die. He couldn't get out of bed from being so sick, and his grandma confirmed with tears in her eyes that they had given up hope. Then the clinic that Hoops of Hope funds built opened, and it was near enough to his home for him to get to. There he received medication and care that has allowed him to live a "regular" life. You would hardly know by looking at him that he's sick. He goes to school, helps around the house, and even plays soccer with his friends! When he looked me in the eyes and said "Thank you for giving me my life" I told him it wasn't me, but many people around the globe who care. It was hard to leave Orlando that day, but as I left I promised him that I would tell his story and would be sure to thank his true heroes for him. That's probably you if you are reading this… anyone who has ever hosted, participated in, given to, volunteered for, prayed for, or supported a Hoops of Hope event in any way.

To those of you hosting events this month in recognition of World AIDS Day, thank you. You are making a huge impact in the lives of people you may never have an opportunity to meet, but that are thankful to YOU for giving them life.

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