Thursday, June 22, 2006

Marie Wansiki...

I talked to Todd tonight from Pittsburgh, standing in front of a bar on "Liberty Street," how kewl is that! He had some sad news to report that a long time friend Marie Wansiki from the famed "Healthlink" has died, after a long battle with illness and a coma.

I have very fond memories of Marie. She was the woman who I credit for helping to save my life, by the services and doctors she provided us in Ft. Lauderdale at the HealthLink Clinic she ran. When there were no real "medical systems" or social programs available yet, Marie was there to make sure we had drugs to take that we could actually afford to pay for, by donation and return services to the organization. Marie took care of me during some of the first "trying times" after my diagnosis in 1994.

Marie held many educational seminars and she distributed condoms at bars and each year she held what was called the "Blackheart Ball" which was a fund raiser for her organization. She was tireless in her fundraising for Aids related services and organizations, not lony her own.

Healthlink was one of the first Aids Care Organizations that existed to help those who needed so much. Not only in drugs and doctors, but in social gatherings, service work in house and in the community but also the mental and emotional health of those who called Healthlink Home.

I spent many a night out at bars around Ft. Lauderdale during those years working for the organization in condom distribution and fund raising. Marie did things for us that the government would not. Marie did for us when others would not. Marie hugged us and loved us when others would not. Marie believed that we were special and were worthy of being loved and cared for, she believed that Healthlink would provide services that did not exist at the time, and so Healthlink was created and run by people like her, my fellows, Todd, my Master and others who worked tirelessly to make sure the doors always stayed open as long as they had.

Marie kept many of us alive, when we should have been dead. When others left us for dead and families abandoned us, Marie taught us to love each other and to take care of each other and that's what we did. I am greatful for all that Marie did for me and my friends and the people of Ft. Lauderdale and later San Francisco. The former employees of "The Stud" salute you and offer you their prayers...

Marie Wansiki... I love you and I know many of us will miss you now that you have gone on. Now she has reunited with those who have died in as many years, my list of guardian angels just keeps getting longer and longer....

Eternal rest grant her and may perpetual light shine upon her.


Blogger Echo Mouse said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Jeremy. Marie was an incredible person. She will be lovingly remembered by many. Your tribute to her is beautiful. {hug}

9:50 PM  

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