California: Mallalieu's on a Mission to Teach Youth About Reality of HIV/AIDS
October 8, 2009
Frank Mallalieu hit a low point in 1996 when he was diagnosed with fully developed AIDS, after years of volunteering for AIDS service organizations and taking "the high road" most of his life. "I was despondent," he said. "At one point I remember thinking how during my whole life I did good things for other people and everything will come to you in the end and here I was dying in my early 40s."
But a "light" inside of him switched on, Mallalieu said, and gradually he recovered physically and emotionally. "I was going to live my life," he said.
Now, Mallalieu puts in 16 to 30 volunteer hours each week at the Cathedral City-based nonprofit Working Wonders, which specializes in helping families affected by HIV/AIDS. Of all his contributions to the group, it is his role as a positive speaker that is most valuable, said Evelyn Hernandez Valentino, the group's CEO.
"To do what Frank is doing is special," said Valentino. "Frank opens up on his life and it is such a benefit to our entire community."
"I think it's [of] paramount importance that our young people understand what is happening out there, leaving themselves open for HIV," said Mallalieu. "I don't want [youth] to go through what I am going through. I have to take 52 pills a day. I deal with constant bouts of diarrhea and nausea and fatigue," he said.
"Youth should be enjoying the new things of life, finding careers, playing basketball or football, not having to deal with the ravages of HIV," said Mallalieu.
For more information on Working Wonders, telephone 760-324-7586.
Desert Sun (Palm Springs)
10.02.2009; Victor Morales
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.