Dawn's Gift - AIDS Education
More about Dawn
Dawn grew up near Seattle, Washington. In high school, she was an honor student, class president, and drill team and drama club (voted Best Actress) member. She got a degree in International Business from the University of Washington. She was a flight attendant for Pan Am, and worked for Boeing HR in Paris and Seattle. At age 25, while getting tested before her marriage in Paris, she discovered that she was HIV+. She developed full-blown AIDS at 27. By 28 she was unable to commit to a full-time job, but for the next several years worked as an AIDS Educator.
She considered AIDS Education to be her calling, and worked at it tirelessly. She did a lot of public speaking; made videos; helped draft policies for corporations, the Northwest AIDS Foundation, and state and national legislators; appeared on TV and in newspaper articles. Thousands of people have heard her message - American Airlines personnel, the NFL, Boeing, students in classrooms around the state...she spoke at the NWAF Walk in 1993 (and was scheduled to speak again in 1997, when she died).
Dawn was attractive, poised, eloquent, personable, and relentlessly upbeat. This made her perfect for her speaking job. She described living with (not dying of!) AIDS in a personal way that really touched people. She asked her brother to handle her paperwork after her death, and he came across a pile of "speaker evaluation" forms - they say that she was the most effective speaker they've ever heard; that she was the first one to make them truly listen and think about AIDS and life in general. All of the evaluations are like this. And there are letters from folks that heard her talk or have seen one of her videos, and then went to the trouble to find her full name and address. They say that she has changed their life with her upbeat attitude and quiet courage. There are hundreds of these things. She definitely made a difference.
Also see the "Rings and Links" page for some articles about Dawn on the web.