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What Matters to me at 50


I’m turning 50 and I need your help. This is a big deal to me, and I want to celebrate like it’s 1999. But I don’t want your gifts, adulations, or a fancy party at The Limelight. I want to raise a ton of money for Keep a Child Alive. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

After all, 50 is a big accomplishment for a gay man who came of age at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the US in the 80’s – too many of my friends and contemporaries didn’t make it.


And at 50 you get to be nostalgic and look back at your life. It turns out I’ve spent nearly half my life in the fight against AIDS – most of my adult years. Not what I would have expected when I started this work in my twenties. The most amazing thing about this journey has been the people I’ve met – brave activists, organizers and caregivers who have fought and achieved miracles. But of course there’s the dreadful and depressing part of HIV and AIDS – the incredible pain, suffering and loss, horrible stigma and discrimination, failures of governments and institution.

And all these years later the awful and the amazing still live side by side. I’m so honored and privileged to work at Keep a Child Alive, which is full of inspiring people who do incredibly important and impactful work in some of the countries hardest hit by the epidemic. And I take great joy in meeting kids, young people, families and communities who are thriving because of comprehensive treatment and care programs that we support.

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But I remain outraged knowing that 75% of children who need treatment are not getting it. And that despite all of our progress, young people living with HIV are not getting their needs met. We have a long way to go.

So, at 50, I’m reflecting on the journey, yes, but also recommitting to the struggle – until we beat this. For my birthday, please join me in honoring all those we’ve lost, recognizing those brave warriors who are making a difference, and celebrating the possibility of ending this epidemic once and for all.

This is the only gift I want or hope for from each and every one of you: Please commit to the end of AIDS with me. Whatever that means to you.

And if you can’t think of anything original, here are a few ideas:

  • Donate $50, $500, $5,000 … I’ll take it all
  • If you can’t afford these options, ask 5 friends to each donate $10
  • Get 50 friends to like Keep a Child Alive on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter
  • Or if you are also turning 50 this year (you know who you are), please consider donating your birthday to Keep a Child Alive. After all, do you really need all those “you’re over the hill” gag gifts?

Thank you so much for recommitting with me, and supporting Keep a Child Alive.

Peace and Love,

Donate to Peter’s Campaign here.