My Mom & My Hero #MOMentos

By Florida Mwesiga | May 6, 2014

Florida Mwesiga says her mother, Fortunata, is her hero because she took steps to make sure she was born HIV-free. Read on to discover more of Florida’s #MOMentos

EGPAF

My mom is my hero.

I know, as a teenager, that’s not the kind of thing I’m supposed to say out loud, but it’s really true.  She’s the kind of person who turns obstacles into opportunities, who stands up for what she believes in, and speaks out when others are silent.

I know she would do anything for me – put my life and health before her own – because she’s done it before.

My mother is HIV-positive. I am HIV-free. I can only say those words because of the sacrifices she made to make sure that I would not contract the virus. 

My parents moved from Tanzania to the United States when my mother was pregnant with me. She learned she was HIV-positive during a prenatal check-up. The doctors explained that if she didn’t start treatment, she could pass the virus onto her baby – me.

My mother was devastated, but she was also determined to do whatever was needed to make sure that I was HIV-free. 

That was 16 years ago. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for her sacrifices. There are a lot of Moms around the world – mothers in Tanzania – whose daughters cannot tell the same story.

So today we continue her journey of HIV/AIDS awareness together.                                  

As an Ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), I’ve joined my mother in speaking out about the importance of HIV/AIDS education, especially for teens. On Wednesday, May 7 I joined other youth advocates on a panel at the Moms + Social Good summit in New York City (check out the video below). I'm excited to share stories of the advocacy work that I have done and to bring more attention to our issue. 

My mom helped me find my own voice and I'm going to use it loud and clear, until no child has AIDS.

This summer, I’m going to (finally) become a big sister. I’ve watched my Mom take the same steps she took with me to ensure that my little sister is also born HIV-free.

And one day, when she’s old enough, I’ll tell my sister why I am inspired by our mother’s bravery each and every day. I’ll tell her why she’s my hero.

And we can share this #MOMentos.

Tell us your favorite memories of your mother. Join EGPAF’s #MOMentos campaign to make sure that mothers around the world are celebrated this Mother’s Day and every day.

Be sure to watch the video below of Florida's panel at the Moms + Social Good Summit. 

 

 

EGPAF Ambassador Florida Mwesiga is 16 years old. She lives with her mother, Fortunata, in New York.