2013: A year for reflection, recognition, and recommitment

By Florence Ngobeni-Allen | January 28, 2013

Foundation Ambassador Florence Ngobeni-Allen and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at a PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) event.

EGPAF

My name is Florence Ngobeni Allen, and I am a global advocate for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. I travel around the world educating communities about pediatric AIDS and motivating them to join me in the fight for an AIDS-free generation. This issue is of particular importance to me, because I am an HIV-positive mother of two HIV-negative children.

Last October, I was invited to speak at the inaugural Global Champions of a Mother’s Fight gala hosted by the Foundation honoring Johnson & Johnson, Amy Robbins, and Cookie Johnson. The event planned to recognize three incredible honorees for their commitments to an AIDS-free generation.

Due to the severity to Hurricane Sandy, the gala had to be postponed. I watched the news about the storm from my hotel room, and I was so impressed by the spirit and generosity of New Yorkers and East Coasters alike. Faced with an incredible challenge, the community worked together to save lives and homes.

My trip in October reminded me that life is full of challenges. We can try to prevent them, but what really matters is how we tackle them after they happen.

The AIDS pandemic is a challenge of inconceivable proportions. As a health care professional, as a woman, and as a mother, I’ve watched the disease destroy families, communities, and countries. But the global community has come together, and now we are collaborating to fight. Now, there is a very real hope that in the future, no child will be born with HIV.

The pain and loss during any challenge – be it a storm or something else – gives us the opportunity to reflect and resolve to make things better. As an HIV/AIDS advocate, I’ve made it my resolution for this year to recommit to the fight against pediatric AIDS.

I am excited to begin 2013 with this resolution, and the first step in my recommitment will be my upcoming trip back to New York for the rescheduled gala. I’m looking forward to meeting the Foundation’s honorees, recognizing their outstanding contributions, and coming together as a group to recommit to our mission of an AIDS-free generation.

As you look at your priorities for 2013, I urge you to join me. Become an advocate, a donor, or a voice in the fight.

Only together can we eliminate pediatric AIDS.