Jun 07, 2009 7:42 AM GMT
Brryan Jackson has been left out of birthday party invitations and asked not to use water fountains. His daily routine at one point included 23 pills, three IV medications and two injections. But the toughest part of growing up with AIDS for him may be knowing how he got it.
When he was a baby, his father entered his hospital room and injected a syringe of HIV-tainted blood into his tiny body. At times during his childhood, he was expected to die.
Now 18, he'll put on his black cap and gown Saturday and graduate from Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, near St. Louis. Shielded from the public for much of his life since his father's high-profile criminal trial a decade ago, Brryan is now an outspoken advocate for people with AIDS, and the power of faith and forgiveness.
To distance himself from his father — and to protect his identity growing up — Brryan changed his name from "Brian." He has not been in contact with Stewart but said he has forgiven him.
"God wants us to forgive people," he said. "Am I going to make myself as low as he is? ... I've got to be the better person."
That's where the stigma of his disease can crop up. Sontag said at least one girl has been told to stop talking to Brryan by parents worried about their daughter's involvement with a boy with AIDS.
As always, Brryan moves ahead. He plans to eventually go to college, and hopes one day to go into politics, but for the upcoming months, he'll spend his time advocating for others with AIDS.
Brryan has started a nonprofit called Hope Is Vital. He will work this summer with Project Kindle, a Valencia, Calif.-based organization that sponsors summer camps for children affected by the disease. He also serves as a speaker with that group and a St. Peters, Mo.-based ministry, Upward Bound Ministries.
Link To Original Story - full story here
Project Kindle: http://www.projectkindle.org/