Good evening,

I am Billie Jo Decarie, I'm 16 years old and I have AIDS. I also have friends, family and a whole AIDS Service support network that helps me get through the worst that this disease throws at me: from nausea to weight-loss, from discrimination to stigma, from loneliness to fearing the future, and that's the short list. As a result, like MANY people, I anticipate the day of a cure, the day I may not have to take any medication, the day I may no longer be infectious. In the meantime, I struggle everyday with this disease by taking daily medications, by taking good care of myself, by eating well and by resting, BUT living with AIDS is not easy, no way.

The only reason I am here today is because of the love, the support and the understanding that I get from people around me. I am lucky, but you know, there are many out there who are not so lucky. They don't get any support, understanding or love, for them, the local AIDS service organization in their community is their only support, their only friend. That's why I'm part of the Walk for Life, to raise awareness and to support local AIDS service organizations, they make living with HIV/AIDS a little easier. My own experience has taught me that the volunteers and professionals that devote their time to helping us are EXCEPTIONAL and THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. I want to thank all of the people involved in the "Walk for Life 2005" and to each and everyone thank you from the bottom of my heart for making a difference tonight.

REMEMBER, AIDS IS 100% FATAL, 100% PREVENTABLE - PLAY SAFE.

The Will To Survive

I have this monster in my body
But I do not take pity
This disease will not go away
So it makes it harder for me each day

It does not change who I am
It does not make me different
It makes me worried about what others think
But does not make me want to shrink

I still can achieve my goals
I still live a normal life
Sot let me live, let my fly, let me be free
Without wanting to die

Billie Jo Decarie
May 2004


Our Little Angel

On this celebration of World AIDS Day
We reflect on the past and pray
We hope that the next 17 years, God permitting
Be not a challenging
As we see the strength in ourselves diminishing.

I can’t help but think of how brave we have had to be
And how we continue to be
May your kind words and smiles
Continue to fill our hearts with love
As we’ve travelled so many, many miles
To gain understanding and love

As we watch our little angel here on earth
Become a young lady
Tears of joy, tears of sorrow both salty and sweet
Flow down our emaciated faces
As we remember a time we didn’t think she’d see four
We are reminded how life is precious
Once again we are so thankful.

May we continue to find strength within
As we realize, living with HIV/AIDS is possible
May we not give up hope of a cure someday
As we witness the hope engraved in our children’s’ faces.

By Johanne and Billie Jo Decarie
November 2002
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