Meet Foundation Ambassador Ben Banks
August 24, 2010
Ben and his wife Kasiah at the White House in July.
My name is Ben Banks and I am an Ambassador
for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. This past month has been extraordinary for me. I celebrated my seventh wedding anniversary with my incredible wife, Kasiah, and I recently attended a reception hosted by the White House in recognition of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
(pdf) where President Obama mentioned me and my life story in his speech
. Also, in a few weeks I will graduate with a Masters of Public Health degree from Walden University.
These are all events I never dreamed would happen, especially considering the way my life started.
I was two years old when I became infected with HIV from a blood transfusion I received while battling a rare form of cancer. It wasn’t until ten years after I finally beat cancer once and for all that my family and I learned I was living with HIV. It was a devastating realization that none of us were prepared for.
Ben and Foundation Celebrity
Ambassador Nigel Barker at A Time for
Heroes in Los Angeles in July 2010.
Luckily, Elizabeth Glaser and her Foundation had been working hard for children like me. Thanks to her, I was able to receive the medicine I needed to lead a healthy, normal childhood. Today, more than ever, I am thankful for Elizabeth’s courage, compassion, and unrivaled drive to fight for the lives of her children, and all children around the world living with HIV.
Listening to President Obama talk about my life and the lives of so many other courageous children and families living with HIV and AIDS, I realized how important these stories are. They motivate and inspire us, and hopefully help us all understand that we can all get involved and make a difference.
And that’s what needs to happen. Because every child deserves a chance to grow up, get married, get an education, and maybe even be mentioned by the president of their country. And if we keep working together, I know we can make that happen.
Ben Banks is an Ambassador for the Foundation. He has spoken at events around the country, including A Time for Heroes in Los Angeles, and countless Dance Marathons supported by the Foundation.