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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

SwagForGood.org -- Holiday Gifts for Those That Need Them Most

By Thomas DeLorenzo

November 16, 2010

By the end of this year, over 4,000 Americans will not be able to access their lifesaving HIV medications due to funding short falls. HIV infections keep going up in this country in spite of the prevention efforts. But there is one group that people are forgetting about -- the men and women spending their final days in AIDS hospices across the country.

I never knew that being an Entertainment Publicist could ever be so enlightening but that's exactly what happened one day in San Antonio, Texas. I met Josh, this incredibly sweet kid with the biggest smile I ever saw. Immediately upon knowing my name, Josh said I was cute. We started a small conversation about his day and the big party I was there for. Josh was going to try to make it, in spite of his wheelchair-bound status. Before I left him, Josh told me he loved me.

How could I possibly not love him back?

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People like Josh are all over this country and they are spending their final days without knowing how much they are loved. Josh told me he loved me. Help me express my love for him and help my project.

It's simple -- I am looking for 40 products -- 30 to San Antonio and 10 to D.C. Contact me via e-mail at DeLorenzo.TheBody@gmail.com and we'll make arrangements: I could pick up the items from you if you're in my area, or you could send them directly to the hospices.

We are looking for items that make sense -- candy and other food products, clothing, bedding, music, DVDs -- you know, things that make sense for a person at this stage in their life. I need them the week after Thanksgiving, by December 3 at the latest. I hope that in spite of the economy, you still have room to give this year.

I created this project because I, too, am a person living with AIDS. However, I am lucky. I have the good fortune to have a compassionate and caring group of family and friends around me, and to have good health. However, everyone with AIDS is different. I want to help my brothers and sisters living with this dreaded disease enjoy their final days and know that people care about them. I want Josh to know that other people love him, too.

You can learn more about this project by checking out SwagForGood.org and ThomasDeLorenzo.com. You can learn more about the charities at TXSaaf.org and JosephsHouse.org.

Thanks very much for anything you can do this year.

Thomas DeLorenzo
SwagForGood.org

DeLorenzo.TheBody@gmail.com
@TDeLorenzo
facebook.com/thomasdelorenzo

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Who Knew So Few T Cells Could Accomplish So Much?


Until just a few years ago, Thomas DeLorenzo never would have believed he could become an HIV/AIDS activist. Before he was "officially" diagnosed with HIV in 2001 -- with 60 T cells and a viral load of 300,000 -- DeLorenzo had been living in denial. And until 2006, he was too busy dealing with the many side effects of his own HIV meds to think about helping anyone else. Then he and his doctors finally figured out the perfect med combo -- and, finally, DeLorenzo felt that he actually had a future.

DeLorenzo lives in Los Angeles with his partner and is currently attending law school at Southwestern University School of Law. His career goals include making sure all Americans have access to adequate and affordable health care. Prior to law school, DeLorenzo worked as a publicist in the entertainment industry, representing many award-winning celebrities.

In 2006, The New York Times named him an Unsung Hero in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS for his Christmas Goody Bag Project for the residents of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation Hospice. In 2008, DeLorenzo was the San Antonio AIDS Foundation's Angel of the Year. DeLorenzo's alma mater, Hofstra University, named him Alumnus of the Month in August 2009 for his work on behalf of people living with HIV/AIDS. DeLorenzo was recently appointed to the City of West Hollywood's Disabilities Advisory Board.


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