Monthly Archives: April 2014

Miracle of Maurice Greenham who was predicted to die 30 years ago – but today is in good health

Victims: Maurice Greenham at 72 (left) and in ’84 before diagnosis (bottom right), plus Rock Hudson

When Maurice Greenham became one of Britain’s first HIV patients he was told that he’d probably be dead within six months.

Thirty years later – despite developing AIDS and getting a second death sentence – he’s in excellent health and still going strong at the age of 72.

Maurice was diagnosed in July 1984, just three months after scientists discovered the killer virus. “I was devastated,” he said. “It made me so angry. I thought ‘why me?’”  He had just returned from a trip to America with his then-boyfriend.

Feeling poorly, he went to a clinic. Having recently finished a ­marathon in under four hours, he didn’t imagine anything was seriously wrong.

HIV tests had only just become available but while his boyfriend’s came back negative, Maurice, then 42, was horrified to learn he’d contracted the virus from a previous partner.  He said: “They said I had six months to live, possibly more. But no one knew what ‘more’ meant.

“At the time I was in love, I thought I was invincible. I’d just got my dream job as a stage manager at my local theatre and I thought it was all going to be taken away from me.”

This week is the 30th ­anniversary of the virus’s discovery. To date, over 130,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV in the UK. Of these, over 27,000 have developed AIDS and more than 20,000 have died.

But in the early days, before advances in treatment, death was seen as almost inevitable. Maurice recalls: “We’d seen so many people around us dying. When the film star Rock Hudson died in 1985 I thought that would be me.”

Universal Pictorial PressActor Rock Hudson
Tragic: Actor Hudson

 And life, while precious, wasn’t easy for an HIV patient then. Maurice, who’d previously worked as a teacher, had hoped he was moving into an industry where his sexuality would be accepted.

But fear of AIDS meant people living with HIV found themselves treated with contempt and revulsion. So Maurice, of Stoke-on-Trent, kept his diagnosis secret from all but his closest friends.

“It was horrible,” he says. “People would refuse to work with HIV-sufferers, they didn’t want to touch them or even talk to them.”

And although his family knew he was gay, he couldn’t bear to reveal his illness to his mum Ada. For the next 10 years he had no ­symptoms.

But in 1994 his health took a turn for the worse. “The virus had got into my brain and was causing dementia,” he explains.  He was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with AIDS, the more severe stage of the disease.

Then, for the second time, he was told he had six months left to live. “I’d kept it a secret for so long and I thought, well, it’s all going to come out now,” he said.

He was put on a combination of drugs to slow down the disease but believed the end was close.  “It was terrifying. My mum had already lost one son – my brother Derrick – to pneumonia when we were younger. I couldn’t stand putting her through it again.”

The six-month point came and went but the fear and pain did not. Maurice lived the next 18 months in agony as the side-effects of the drugs ravaged his body.

In 1996 he blew a load of cash on what he calls his ‘Farewell Tour’ of Spain. “There’s nothing like the threat of imminent death to focus the mind,” he says.  “I started to work on my bucket list.”

But to everyone’s amazement, he started to get better. Three decades later his body is still holding the virus at bay.

Although technically his AIDS diagnosis still stands, Maurice reckons he’s in better health than many of his peers.  “Back in the 90s I was taking a suitcase-load of drugs every day. Now I just take two pills a day.”

Maurice plays the organ in his church and writes for ­Staffordshire Buddies, an HIV charity that helped him through his illness.  “If you’d asked me 30 years ago, I’d never have believed I’d still be here, but here I am,” he said.

Story via the Mirror

 

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We’re Recruiting! Vacancy: Well for Living Manager

 

DEADLINE

  • Job Title: Well for Living Manager
  • Reports to: Chief Executive Officer
  • Hours: 37 Per Week (Fixed Term until the end of May 2015 in the first instance)
  • Salary: £23,215
  • CLOSING DATE AND TIME: TUESDAY 29TH APRIL 2014 12:00 NOON Closed

Well for Living, the Social Enterprise for LASS (Leicestershire AIDS Support Services) is recruiting for a Manager.  Well for Living, is a community support agency which offers a choice of personal support services to individuals.

Our clients choose Well for Living to help support domestic tasks such as cleaning, laundry or gardening to social needs like outings and trips.  Well for Living also engages in projects to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, we provide community support services providing catering, training or consultancy services to the wider community.

Our clients choose Well for Living to help support domestic tasks such as cleaning, laundry or gardening to social needs like outings and trips.  Well for Living also engages in projects to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, we provide community support services providing catering, training or consultancy services to the wider community.  

The Well for Living manager will lead and manage Well for Living (LASS Social Enterprise Ltd) in the delivery of a range of income generating wellbeing services and opportunities, and to ensure these are compliant with all legislative and quality requirements and in keeping with the 3 main delivery areas in our strategic plan – personal support, community support and product sales.

The successful candidate will be expected to develop and ensure delivery a range of high quality personal support services to people in their homes including marketing and promotion, assessment of new clients and allocation of case work, monitoring, quality assurance, and liaison with finance for invoicing.

Additionally, the role will manage the delivery of awareness raising events and training for sexual health and HIV, the LASS café and room hire services as contracted by, and in liaison with LASS managers. This will include management of sessional and part time staff, booking and allocation of resources, budget management, promotion and development of services, quality assurance.

The ideal candidate will have education or training in Business Management, Customer Care, Education, Training, or Health and Social Care level 3 or equivalent.  Excellent project planning skills and experience in providing education or training, care or support services.

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the successful candidate will be a self-starter, competent with Microsoft Office packages and will report on feedback and outcome delivery on a regular basis.

Deadline for applications is Tuesday, 29th April 2014 at 12:00 noon.

Interviews will be held on Friday, 2nd May 2014.

 

 

 

Choice Unlimited

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Choice Unlimited is a UK wide road show on independent living and the first of its kind nationally. Aimed at disabled people, older people and carers, Choice Unlimited showcases the diversity of information, services, products, ideas and innovation that is available to support independent living all under one roof.

Choice Unlimited is a unique event led by disabled people to empower disabled people and benefits everyone involved:

Disabled People enjoy an exciting event to learn about the services available to them on their doorstep to support them to live independent lives.

Organisations enjoy the opportunity to showcase their wares and increase awareness about their services to an ever increasingly powerful customer base.

Professionals enjoy the opportunity to learn about the diversity of services available so they are better able to support their disabled clients.

LASS26White           Well-for-Living-logo-croppe

LASS & Well for Living will also be attending, showcasing a variety of support services which our organisations offer.  It’s a good chance to meet some of our staff in person and chat, one on one with us to provide feedback and for us to meet some new people who may benefit from our services.  Entry is free, we hope to see you there!

Cookery Demonstration

Tomato-and-Red-Lentil-Soup

Tomorrow, (Tuesday 8th April) we’re providing a simple cookery lesson for volunteers and members of LASS.

Our visiting dietician Jen and our Cafe coordinator Travis will be on hand to show how to cook a nutritional and healthy red lentil and tomato soup on a budget.

Studies find that eating tomatoes regularly can reduce the risk of men getting prostate cancer and they are packed full of vitamins – including vitamins A, C and E.  Tomatoes also contain flavonoids (natural anti-inflammatories), potassium and other mineral salts.

Lentils are a good source of protein which help to lower cholesterol in addition to slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

Join us tomorrow from 11:30 in the cafe tomorrow, and we’ll break bread together.  Contact Chaz or Rachael on 0116 2559995 for more information.

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Follow LASS on Twitter
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Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy