SOMETIMES IN LIFE THERE ARE NO CHOICES
May 13, 2004
Dear Dr. Benjamin Young:
My name is Richard Brodsky. I am HIV-positive and I have brain cancer. My cancer is totally unrelated to my HIV. I read the article titled A Heartfelt Thank You. I had a difficult time getting through the article. I'm married and I had to tell my wife that I was unfaithful, bisexual and HIV-positive the day I found out I was HIV-positive. My wife Jodi chose to stay with me. We decided we would keep our secret. Maybe someday we thought we might share our secret. My wife and my children decided that my story was worth telling. It happens that I had been running marathons since my late twenties and here I was, 5 years ago at age 46, HIV-positive, running the fastest marathon of my life, 03:23.
My family and I decided that any potential shame and humiliation would be worth the potential benefit that AIDS infected people could live healthy productive lives, provided the AIDS medicine was available. My story, "Jodi, the Greatest Love Story Ever Told" was also a gift to my wife for keeping our family together and me a part of it. But it was mostly written to dispel the myth that HIV-positive people are all gay, black, drug using, derelicts. I was a successful Architect living in the suburbs of New York City with a beautiful wife who grace the cover of my book. Three loving teenage daughters: popular, athletic, great kids: I had and have it all. I am in a position to help others because my story is one that defies the stereotypical AIDS story. The spectre of AIDS cannot destroy my family. My middle daughter was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" in High School.
I have two comments: (1) Please think twice about printing an uplifting story where prominent people refuse to identify themselves. That is exactly why the stigma of AIDS is spreading. And if you think it is bad in this country it is infinitely worse in Africa. (2) I amin the process of organizing an AIDS Marathon in Africa, most likely Kenya where I have the potential of raising $5,000,000 - $10,000,000. A similar marathon will be taking place in Malibu, California on December 5th where the potential to raise an even greater amount of money exists. Details about both marathons will follow but let me say this: If I chose to keep my HIV status hidden, there was no way I could look in the mirror and feel comfortable with what I saw.
SOMETIMES IN LIFE THERE ARE NO CHOICES,
Richard M. Brodsky
Response from Dr. Young
Thank you for your thoughtful post. I'm sure that many will find it of value.
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