“As a young girl, I ran away from home because I was abused. I found myself sleeping in cars, behind buildings, wherever I could find. I ran away from something awful and ran right smack into something else: addiction. I was sick. I had all of these symptoms. I was 86 pounds. I was disoriented. But, I didn’t care about myself.
Thank God, one day, someone asked me if I was okay. I didn’t know where or who I was or anything. I was taken to the hospital, and that’s when I found out I had HIV. I didn’t know how long I had it. When they told me, I just about died.”
I first met Dorothy in 2004. One of our BABES brought her to our support group. Then she disappeared for a while, but she eventually came back – and it was whole new Dorothy. She used to make fun of me about my “big butt” (hey, it’s not that big!), but now she was gaining weight. And we teased each other about that, laughing our way to a real and lasting friendship. Watching her return to health has been one of the highlights of my time with the BABES Network.
Your support of YWCA’s BABES Network means a lot to women like Dorothy. Thanks to you, she isn’t facing life with HIV alone.
“Sure, I still cry sometimes. I feel down. I don’t want to get out of bed or go outside. Most people don’t know what I feel or what I’m going through, but my BABES network does. These women are really in my heart. They accept me for who I am. They always have time for me. They go to doctors’ appointments with me. They come see me, and that makes me feel good about myself — that I can keep moving.”
BABES is the only program of its kind in our community, ensuring that women living with HIV and their families are connected to a strong network of friends, advocates, and healthcare providers. Each December, we ask you to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1st by wearing a red ribbon and investing in BABES like Dorothy.
You have answered our call in the past. We need you, more than ever, to answer this call again. Your gifts turn despair into resolve for the women who find their way to BABES, reminding each woman living with HIV that she can still fall in love, create lasting friendships, be a mentor to other women, have a career, and be a pillar of our shared community.
“Today, I love to babysit my two-year-old grandson. He can say his abc’s. He can count. I’ll read to him and he’ll grab that book, hold it upside down and “read” to me. I don’t know what he’s saying, but he does. He’s my pride and joy. I’m so grateful that I can be there for him. I may eventually tell him my story, but it will be just that to him: a story about his grandma that he’ll barely be able to believe because, years ago, a network of women believed in me.”
Thank you for believing in Dorothy. Thank you for believing in BABES!
P.S. Please use the enclosed envelope to make your gift today, or you can donate at www.ywcaworks.org/donate.
Be sure to designate BABES as the recipient, and thank you for your support!