David Ross Patient was a wealth of knowledge and a humanitarian filled with compassion and love, on whose shoulders I indeed stood proud. Our relationship could have been less than 4 years old yet the knowledge; guidance; advice and counseling I received from him in this short span of time could fill a lifetime. My favourite picture of him is this one at the tender age of 22 years, an image of innocence with the startling of an Iconic Legacy that would change millions of lives in 34 years time of hard work. In August 2017, David rendered what would be his last advice to me when I complained of feeling weary and despondent about my work in the HIV/AIDS field. What he said to me, will indeed resonate with me all my life, as his many teachings do:
David Ross Patient – 3 August 2017
I’m hearing burn out my friend…classic symptoms.. giving care to others, putting their needs first, always ‘being there for everyone’…sound familiar? You have to take some time out for you. Unplug for a while, HIV and all it’s drama will still be there in a week or two. And learn to say NO. I always use the flight safety demo on a plane when they do the whole bit about the cabin suddenly depressurizing and the flight attendant always says’ Mask will drop from the ceiling…secure YOUR mask first and only then help those around you’…. if your oxygen is not flowing then you are pretty useless to anyone else. In this game, and God knows I’ve been at it a few years, you have to put yourself first if you are going to endure for the long haul. It sounds selfish to the uninitiated, but in reality, if you don’t put you first and always put ‘others’ first, then you are not really giving care, you’re taking it! You cannot give away something you do not have so if your glass is full, you can share it…so always make sure your glass is full. Giving care to you first is actually a selfless act, not a selfish one because if you are ‘full’ then and only then can you truly be there for others. I’m here if you need to vent/scream/cry/whatever…
As Red Ribbon Foundation’s 34 Days of Tribute to the life and teachings of this remarkable man nears the end, as the Founder, I truly have stood tall on the shoulders of David, as he guided me in carrying forward the torch of hope. This torch of hope I now carry forward in honour of this Iconic Legend, who I had the privilege of calling my teacher and friend.
Love Beyond HIV/AIDS