Hydeia Broadbent: Foundation Ambassador
Elizabeth Glaser was one my main inspirations for becoming HIV/AIDS advocate. I honestly can’t remember the very first time I met Elizabeth, she was such a powerful force during my childhood and in the AIDS community that it seemed like she had always been a part of my life. Elizabeth was the person who introduced me to Magic Johnson when I was 6 years old and invited me to be part of his 1992 Nickelodeon special, “A Conversation with Magic Johnson.” I am grateful Elizabeth included me in this groundbreaking opportunity to teach young people about HIV/AIDS. Elizabeth’s passion and dedication motivated me to use my own HIV-positive status to reach out to young people, teach them about HIV, and help break down the stigma associated with the virus, especially for HIV-positive children.
The best gift Elizabeth ever gave me, along with countless other HIV-positive children, was the ability to experience life. The things people take for granted -- birthdays, school dances, becoming a woman -- almost didn’t happen for me. When my adoptive parents first learned that I had contracted HIV from my birth mother, doctors said I wouldn’t live past the age of 3. That was almost 30 years ago. Thanks to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), I experienced a life outside of hospital stays and doctors’ appointments. I had holidays, summertime with my friends, and I’m making new memories every day. I know I can have any future I want. Elizabeth not only helped guide me into the work I do today, but also gave me an example of the type of woman and mother I hope to become someday. I am so thankful that we now have the resources available to ensure I won’t pass HIV on to my future children.
Elizabeth would be overjoyed by the progress EGPAF has made since 1988. The organization has grown beyond what I think her vision ever could have been, and she would be so proud to know EGPAF is working to end pediatric HIV worldwide. But she would also say that we have a long fight ahead of us. I know that if she were still alive today, she wouldn’t rest until there were no more babies born with HIV. And I feel the same way—I have the same fire inside of me that Elizabeth had to make sure that the world knows that no child should be born HIV-positive.
Hydeia and Magic Johnson
EGPAF co-founders Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis with Hydeia at A Time for Heroes
Hydeia (far right) with her Foundation Ambassador family at the 2013 A Time For Heroes
Hydeia at the Advocates for Youth Connecting the Dots for Youth: Creating an AIDS Free Generation, September 2013