Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Today, I spoke in the Legislature to pay tribute to the Heart of Richmond AIDS Society:

I rise today to dedicate my remarks to two amazing Richmond residents, because in the words of k.d. lang, Joanne and Brian Wardley ‘beautifully combine.’ They have been the heart and soul of the Richmond AIDS Society since its inception.

After 14 years of operation the Heart of Richmond AIDS Society continues to address HIV/AIDS in the community of Richmond by supporting the needs of HIV-positive persons and their family and friends. The creation of the Gilwest Clinic at Richmond Hospital — which provides access to specialists, nurses, pharmacists, counsellors, social workers and a dietician — is a critical achievement which continues to build awareness.

Their prevention education program moved into its fourth year of operation in 2011 and continues to reach young people throughout the Richmond school district. The program also continues to be well received by youth and school staff alike.

Supporting persons with HIV/AIDS and their families and loved ones continues to be a central focus of the society. This past year this support program experienced another solid year of service provision in the areas of counselling, group support, advocacy and food and health care. They have maintained a range of material supports offered to their clients, while their relationships with other health professionals and service providers have deepened.

These connections continue to play an integral role in providing support services to their clients. I have attended their monthly dinners and know how important this outreach is in our community.

The services of the Heart of Richmond endeavour to respond in the most effective manner possible to the impact that HIV and AIDS have on the members of our community. I would like to extend special thanks to everyone who's involved and in particular to the volunteer board member staff for their ongoing dedication to providing these services.

It was my pleasure to attend their gala in November and reconnect with lovely souls who believe in this work. My heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you.

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