The Inspiration for AIDS Alive®
The man who inspired AIDS ALIVE was Bob Gillin, Jr. He was the oldest brother in an upper-middle class, suburban, Catholic family of nine children. He grew up in Bryn Mawr and graduated from the Haverford School in 1981. Gifted in athletics, Bob was a member of the varsity crew team at Haverford and went on to represent the U.S. Crew Team at Henley.
Bob was especially known for his leadership skills, serving as school President for both his junior and senior years. Bob received the Key Man Award at his graduation from Haverford, an award that goes to that graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding traits of character, scholarship, intelligence, and leadership, as well as enthusiasm in all school activities.
Bob had a deep appreciation and love of life, coupled with the unique gift of making others feel the same way. The significance of his life was as a great person, son, brother, and friend who had wisdom that surpassed his years’ experiences that he shared with all of us.
Bob graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1985. He completed the Credit Training Program at Morgan Guarantee in New York, prior to starting his own architectural and interior design firm. We provide Bob's profile here to make the point that Bob was not the typical "face of AIDS" that we or many other people expect to see. His death reminds us that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. It only asks one question, “ARE YOU HUMAN?”
The above clip is an open and honest look at Bob’s journey to show others fighting the disease that they are not alone. After celebrating his 30 th Birthday with family and friends, Bobby passed away on October 27, 1992, due to complications from the HIV/AIDS virus.
Throughout Bob's struggle with HIV/AIDS, he was struck by the wealth of organizations and resource materials designed to help individuals deal with the health and medical aspects of HIV/AIDS but he realized how few resourcesexisted to help people deal with the psychological, emotional and spiritual struggles that accompany this disease.
Bob did not feel like a victim, but more as a messenger. And we respond to this epidemic not because our son died of this disease, but because so many more are living with it.
Bob’s courage showed his family and friends that with honesty and love, understanding grows, awareness blossoms, fears fade, discrimination withers, and loneliness subsides.
Accordingly, the family and friends of Bob, who have witnessed first-hand his experience as a person living with HIV/AIDS and the impact it had on their lives, have joined together in an effort to celebrate Bob's memory and fulfill his vision. In Bob's memory, his family and friends have formed a non-profit organization called AIDS Alive®.