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Belfast holds 14th candlelight AIDS vigil

By Kendra Caruso | Dec 02, 2019
Photo by: Kendra Caruso During the World AIDS Day observance in Belfast Dec. 1, a woman reads a poem written by a person with AIDS who attended Camp Chrysalis.

Belfast — Fewer than a dozen supporters braved 25-degree temperatures in front of the Belfast post office to remember AIDS victims during World AIDS Day Sunday. They lit candles and posted signs with names of people who have died from the disease.

Meredith Bruskin was co-director of Camp Chrysalis, a former camp in Midcoast Maine for children and their families infected with HIV that was open for 20 years. She has been participating in the Dec. 1 AIDS event since 2005.

The global event started in 1988 to raise awareness and funds to fight a disease that affects 36.7 million people globally, according to

Bruskin brings several readings each year to honor those who have died from AIDS. Some were written by those who attended the camp.

The majority of children born with AIDS contracted it in the womb from their mothers, she said. Today 88% of infected mothers are on medication developed in recent years, effectively preventing children from contracting or being born with AIDS, Bruskin said.

Medical advancements that prolong people’s lives and prevent the disease from spreading ultimately rendered the camp, which used to accept up to 35 children in a summer, unnecessary, Bruskin said, but in a good way.

She said the camp's name represented its mission to empower and provide a safe, open space for children with HIV to feel accepted.

“Camp Chrysalis was a safe place for transformation,” she said. “The chrysalis is where butterflies (get their) wings.”

Candles light up the dark street to remember victims of AIDS on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, in front of the Belfast Post Office. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
Meredith Bruskin gathers with others Dec. 1 for World AIDS Day in front of the Belfast Post Office to remember those who have died from the disease. (Photo by: Kendra Caruso)
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Comments (1)
Posted by: Virgil Fowles Jr | Dec 03, 2019 07:40

Thank you Meredith for keeping the torch alive....

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