Shanti Orange County, a recipient agency of AIDS Walk Orange County, will again be presenting the AIDS Memorial Tent and OC Memorial Quilt Panels at the walk this year.
In 1989, after 2 years of caregiving, Joan Shaw lost her son, Steven, to AIDS. Seeking support and education, she joined a support group called Mothers of AIDS Patients. Having lost one son to AIDS, she needed support as she cared for her second son, Jody (whom she would eventually lose to AIDS in 1997). In 1991, Joan reformed the group and called it AIDS: Families and Friends. Meetings were held every Tuesday at 7pm at the Garden Grove medical plaza. As president of the group for 18 years, she fought ignorance and discrimination in the community in relation to HIV/AIDS with compassion, dedication, and love.
Joan opened a 24/7 AIDS information hotline in her home, wanting to help and educate anyone in need. AIDS: Families and Friends participated in countless community activities supporting people with HIV/AIDS, providing outreach and support to families and friends who were impacted, and educating the community about the disease.
At the time, Joan and the group were inspired by the Names Project that was calling for family and friends who had lost someone to AIDS to make quilt panels that could be combined to make a massive, impactful, memorial quilt. Joan taught an AIDS quilt-making workshop out of her home. Some of the panels were submitted to the Names Project and some remained with the group in Orange County for their education and outreach work.
In 2009, Joan died of Lou Gehrig’s disease/ALS. Her beautiful, loving spirit always shines on in the family and friends she left behind and in the OC AIDS Memorial Quilt panels that are on display at AIDS Walk Orange County again this year.
The AIDS Memorial Tent will be open to all walk participants as a quiet place to reflect on all those we have lost to this disease and to contemplate the challenges that lie ahead in the fight against AIDS.
For more information about the OC Memorial Quilt Panels and the AIDS Memorial Tent, please contact Beth England-Mackie at firstname.lastname@example.org.