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Nov 30, 2001

Family remembers AIDS victim with quilt

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Tomorrow is World AIDS Day and while several activities have been planned countrywide, main events include a solidarity march through the streets of Belize City culminating at the B.T.L. Park for an all-day awareness fair. But while it is hoped many will attend the events to get important information about the deadly disease, for others it will be an emotional day as they remember loved ones already lost. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has the story of one family who is determined to keep their memories alive.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

In 1994, forty-five year old Arturo Castillo who is a Belize American died of AIDS in Chicago. Six years later, his sister Antonette Young is working to keep his memory alive and all other Belizeans who have succumbed to the disease. Young has been working on a panel that will become a part of an AIDS Memorial Quilt, which she hopes will be completed with the help of families of AIDS victims.

Antonette Young

“When it’s finished, it’s going to be like a patchwork of quilts. We make quilts in Chicago, especially people in the southern area. They take all patchworks and combine together to make a big quilt, a blanket and so on. This is what our panel or memorial quilt will be like, patchwork from different people that have passed away. Just co-ordinate a panel and attach it and make one of the largest quilts.”

Young lived in the United States for several years before moving back to Belize in 1996. She has since opened her medical lab in Orange Walk and continues to work with people who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Antonette Young

“I’ve lived in Chicago for numerous years and I’ve had about twenty-nine years of experience in the medical field. HIV/AIDS, I’ve had about twelve years, and I just wanted to come back home and make a difference in the community. Coming back home and offering testing, counselling and specifically working with HIV/AIDS persons and families, have shared my field of interest even more now, because I have seen where it’s really affecting Belize. We are probably not really aware of how much it’s affecting our country, but it definitely will in the near future if we don’t take hold of it.”

Young believes the quilt will motivate people to take better care of themselves.

Antonette Young

“The quilt represents awareness that these people have passed away from HIV/AIDS and it’s our responsibility to exercise that care by stopping the contamination of HIV/AIDS.”

The quilt will be on display this Saturday at the AIDS Fair in Orange Walk Town. Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

If you know someone who has died of AIDS, you are encouraged to create your own panel and take it to the fair so it can be added to the quilt.

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