This book is dedicated to those who have gone before me, but especially to three individuals that impacted my life in their own way: Tim Tingley, Ryan White, and Lance vanGils.
Tim was a former boyfriend. In loving memory of him, a portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to an organization that helps improve the conditions of those who are living with AIDS.
I did not have the pleasure of knowing Ryan when he was alive, or have the opportunity to meet his parents. I remember hearing about Ryan’s story, as it was major headline news. Several decades later, I became familiar with the specifics of his legacy, the Ryan White Foundation, which allowed me to have medical coverage when I lost a job and was unable to find an employer that offered group health care insurance. As horrifying as it must have been for his parents to lose their son, I hope with all my being that it gives them some comfort to know that, if not for their son and his life’s path, many people would have lost their lives, many would have suffered greatly from lack of medical care prior to their death, and many more would have lost their loved ones before their time. I thank God that I have the opportunity to express my gratitude to Ryan’s family for the good they have done in his memory, and believe it is God’s wish that I do so. Ryan is a hero of mine and I’m sure he is one of God’s special Angels in heaven.
I met Lance when he was twenty-one. I introduced myself to him eleven days before his twenty-second birthday—at Gold’s Gym in downtown Los Angeles. Sadly, he wouldn’t live to celebrate his twenty-third birthday. I had the great pleasure to know him between November 13, 2012 and July 11, 2013. Although our time as friends only lasted eight months, Lance and I developed a close friendship. I believe God had a hand in bringing us together for a reason that neither of us could comprehend at the time. By building a friendship with him, I became a better human being. He had an enormous impact on my life while he was alive and he has equally influenced my life now that he is gone. Even though there was a thirty-year difference between us, I learned much from him. Christina Borraez and Gerard vanGils, his parents, raised an amazing young man. His passing gave purpose to a passion of mine that I believe God placed in my heart. It is my hope that I will be able to establish and fund a non-profit organization, through the efforts of this book, which will assist the less fortunate of the world with housing and education—in memory of my friend Lance.