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Family Foundation hosts 23rd AIDS Benefit Banquet

Founder started agency following deaths of brothers

Gigi Tinsley | 8/22/2013, noon
In 1984, the Rev. Darryl Baxter had his first encounter with the horrific disease known as HIV/AIDS. “I knew nothing ...
Mr. Davie Bell and wife Officer Ida Bell (Miami-Dade police), both are Board members. Photos courtesy/Darryl Baxter

In 1984, the Rev. Darryl Baxter had his first encounter with the horrific disease known as HIV/AIDS. “I knew nothing about AIDS at that time — few people did,” he said. “All I knew was that I had a very sick brother who died that same year. When

my brother Steve got sick and the doctors diagnosed him with having the AIDS virus, I saw the same symptoms Gregory had when he was sick. Everything became very clear. Both of my brothers had contracted the AIDS virus. Steve died in 1990. To lose two brothers from AIDS was extremely painful. It was more than I was willing to let happen to me and my family. I had to do something more than just sit down and grieve.”

Baxter discussed his feelings with family and friends and some of them decided on a course of action. They went to the Miami-Dade County [M-DC] Health Department and were given condoms. Each night, Baxter and a few volunteers would make the rounds of clubs in the area and distribute the condoms to those willing to accept them. But they wanted to do more.

“We wanted to do more than just distribute condoms,” he said. “So we went back to the Health Department and told them we wanted to help educate people. A few of us took courses on HIV/AIDS. After that, the Family Foundation, Inc. of Greater Miami was born.

The Foundation is a community-based, non-profit 501 © 3 organization dedicated to helping prevent the spread of HIV infections and improve the lives of those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Education still the key to saving lives

“Even though impressive strides have been made in the treatment and prevention of this disease, since we founded The Family Foundation in 1990, we realize that we still have quite a ways to go,” Baxter added.

M-DC currently ranks number one in the nation, logging the highest number of new AIDS cases per capita in the U.S. Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale) ranks two in the U.S. with the second highest number of new cases.

On Saturday, August 24th, 6:30 p.m., at the Miami Airport Marriott Hotel [1201 LeJeune Rd.], the Family Foundation will host their 23rd AIDS Benefit Banquet. The featured artist will be nationally-recording artist Debra Snipes & the Angels. Honorees include Foundation member, Rev. Lee Temple and M-DC Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Jean Monestime. For more information, call 305-978-7100.