Holidays a struggle for HIV patients...donations make it easier - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Holidays a struggle for HIV patients...donations make it easier

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

December 18, 2008

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - The holidays can be tough financially.

But for people with HIV and AIDS the struggle is multiplied...high medical bills and depression on top the economic turmoil.

Today in Thomasville World Vision ministries donated hundreds of gifts to the HIV/AIDS district of the Southwest Georgia Public Health Department.

Diane Waldens lives out her passion for people and life through her job at the HIV/AIDS district.

"I mostly talk to people that just found out they are HIV positive or have aids," says Diane Walden of Cairo.

She's able to do that because she, too, tested positive for HIV 16 years ago.

"I say it like this , I have AIDS, AIDS don't have me," she says.

But for many struggling with the disease their spirits aren't as high as Diane's.

"It is hard during the holidays. Then you have a lot of family members turn their backs on you on top of that."

But one group of people in Thomasville aren't turning their backs.

"One of our main focuses is to help children and families that are in need," says Raymond Johnson with World Vision Ministries.

Johnson helped load up a car on Thursday full of toys...clothes....and more...to give the public health division...who plan on passing them out to families dealing with HIV.

"Most of them are on a fixed income and by the time you get through paying the bills you really don't have nothing left to buy gifts or to get a nice dinner on the table," says Diane. 

Not to mention, medical bills, which for Diane alone run up to 15,000 dollars a month.

"It costs, it really costs to have this disease," she says.

But for over 200 reported patients in Thomas county this year, it won't cost a dime to put a gift under the tree.

World Vision ministries are based here in Albany, but have a partnership with a church in Thomasville.

Donated items come from manufacturers and companies who give World Vision headquarters their surplus items.  Feedback