Recording the story in film of a Scottish born Australian hero who became a voice for young men and women who died ignored in their 20s and 30's
Our dear and admired friend Ms Patricia Kennedy was awarded the Australian Governments' honour, the OAM in June 2003 in public recognition for her voluntary service to the Australian community in HIV and Disability Support Services. This was a milestone in the culmination of over 40 years of services to the community, marked by compassion and advocacy on behalf of those without a voice. Patricia accepted the award to honour the memory of the volunteer young men and women, many in their late teens and early 20's, who even though terminally ill themselves, worked alongside her, many giving up their own remaining time and lives for the benefit of others
Project Patricia is our way of helping to record her story for the benefit of the Australian community.
- In 2013, Patricia graciously accepted the role of Brand Ambassador for our speciality brand unUsual Risks Insured Australia (unUsualrisks.com.au) that specialises in providing Life Insurance solutions for people living with well-managed HIV or Diabetes.
Her captivating story is of one elderly straight-talking grandmother taking on the establishment and fighting for the needs of a group of young people who were abandoned by the majority of the Australian community and the various pressure groups within it, at a time when the emergence of HIV and AIDS first became public in the 1980’s.
This was a time of staggering public uncertainty, fear and stigmatisation that ushered in the rise of the controversial Grim Reaper television advertisements, that promised if AIDS, was left unchecked, 'it could kill more Australian's than World War II'.
It’s important to note that the 1980’s were pre-internet and the Australian community as was the world community, was yet to see the emergence of consumer empowered advocacy and the ability of the average person to publish a message to YouTube, tell their story on a public blog or share an experience through their social networking community.
- This means that there is an identifiable lack of accessible public records and reliable primary information from this time. A time marked by staggering community fear and intolerance, indifference, discrimination and public vilification – a time when Australians abandoned and then tried to ignore a generation of young men and women dying within 24 months of being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.
Project Patricia, is an effort to ensure that her story is never forgotten. In an hour-long frank interview, you will hear the stories of countless lives touched by her team of volunteers, many of whom have passed away and their stories been lost to time.
Project Patricia aims to bring her story into the public arena. It will inspire you, it will make you mad, it might embarrass you but it will challenge your attitudes as you hear the story of hundreds of young Australians who perished from HIV, often alone, abandoned by embarrassed families and friends, before medical research helped arrest the savage decline.
The Story of Patricia - filming began July 2014 The Story of Patricia - a short-read Kindle book and 4 part audio interview is due for release in April 2016. You can hear the promo on my SoundCloud account below