heroes-in-action-header-2011

Home

AIDS Walk
Home

Support This
Project

Honorary
Reception

AAC_Logo_w45px.jpg

    

Margaret Sullivan, fundraiser and former board member of AIDS Action


25years-reception-button

*Donations are made in honor of, tribute to, or memory of the honorees, as gifts that support the programs and services of AIDS Action Committee. Thank you for supporting our critical work.

Turned heartbreak into action

Many people who survive a tragedy are motivated to give back to those who helped. Some write a check. Some make a phone call to ask what they can do. But few do what Margaret Sullivan did: made a phone call, volunteered her time, wrote a few checks, and then implemented a fundraising mechanism that raised $2.1 million.

In 1986, Sullivan was married, working in the high-tech industry, and devoted to her best friend Geoffrey, a gay African American man with whom she lived before marrying. One day she received a phone call from a suburban hospital: Geoffrey was sick. Sullivan rushed to the hospital only to find Geoffrey in a psychotic state and confined in a strait jacket. Geoffrey, with whom she had gone out dancing just a few weeks earlier, didn’t even recognize her.

‘People were just there for the common goodness and dignity of life.’

Hospital officials were vague about what had happened to him other than to say he had had a grand mal seizure, which made little sense to Sullivan. She had known Geoffrey for years. He didn’t have epilepsy and had never before shown any seizure-like symptoms. She demanded to speak with the doctor in charge. When he would not give her additional information, Sullivan told him that she had friends in the Boston press and that if he didn’t tell her what was going on she would call them and tell them that “you are caging a black man in your very white, suburban hospital.”

The doctor finally told her that Geoffrey had AIDS (this was before any laws regarding HIV/AIDS confidentiality had been enacted). “I said, ‘Okay, now we can get somewhere,’” Sullivan recalls. Geoffrey was immediately transferred to a downtown hospital that treated people with AIDS in an infectious disease unit.

Sullivan learned as much as she could about AIDS, visited Geoffrey nearly daily, and helped his mother arrange for his care when he was discharged from the hospital. She also called AIDS Action Committee, because she had heard that the agency had a buddies program that paired people with AIDS with a volunteer who would do errands as needed but, most importantly, as Sullivan notes, would “just sit with him and give him dignity.”

Within six months, about 13 more men from Geoffrey and Sullivan’s circle of friends also became sick with AIDS, and Geoffrey himself had died. Sullivan was heartbroken. A few years later, when she became pregnant with her first child, she called the AIDS Action Committee and told them about Geoffrey and what a difference the Buddy Program volunteer had made in his life. She asked if there was anything she could do help. “I think they thought it was kind of weird that this woman was calling out of the blue,” Sullivan laughs. But she got a meeting with Larry Kessler and Cheryl Shafer. It wasn’t quite clear at first to any of them how Sullivan could best be utilized. “They were kind of dragging their feet a little bit and said, ‘Well this is nice that you want to help, but we’re not really sure how we can use you,’” Sullivan recalls.

But she persisted. They finally settled on an employee survey that Sullivan, who had a background in organizational management, could implement. She did the work, wrote a report, and that could have been that. But it wasn’t. Not long after she completed the employee survey for AIDS Action, Sullivan and her husband were driving home from a weekend trip. “I said, ‘You know, we’ve really got to do something,” Sullivan recalls. “With this loss that we’ve had, we’ve got to turn it into some kind of action.”

And so they did. Sullivan’s husband, who was then working at Lotus (which was the first corporate sponsor of the AIDS Walk), told his coworkers that he and his wife would be fundraising for AIDS Action. A marketing director who worked with Sullivan’s husband had connections with the Sonesta Hotel and arranged a meeting for Sullivan and her husband with the hotel’s general manager. He loved the idea and, telling Sullivan about how the hospitality industry had been devastated by AIDS, committed his director of marketing to the project, which subsequently became a corporate philanthropic undertaking for Sonesta Hotel.

Working with Sonesta’s marketing director Sullivan and her husband organized “Everybody’s Business,” an auction featuring exotic trips, fine wine, and other donated luxury items. It was a huge success. That first event in 1994 raised about $150,000. Sullivan and her husband, working with Sonesta, held “Everybody’s Business” annually through 2000. In total, they raised $2.1 million for AIDS Action.

Since then, they have been patrons for ARTcetera and Sullivan has served on the AIDS Action Board of Directors. “The epidemic somehow brought out people who were just there for the common goodness and dignity of life,” Sullivan says. “The people who were most affected by it were able to actually give back and I haven’t been around anything like that in any way since then.”

Guest Book

Share a thought about Margaret. Sign her guest book!

Sign the Guest Book

Records 1 - 25 of 1,001+

Rose
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Wow cuz this is excellent work! Congrats and keep it up.wholesale jerseys ( %url )

Eusebia Rettig
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
love it, want more
My web-site ... how to have an affair ( %url )

Terrie Maple
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Gerade musste Zustand ich bin gerade ekstatisch I kam auf Homepage !.
My web page; No-Fuss Pläne In Geld beschreiben einfache [klicken Sie sich durch den nächsten Post ( %url )]

Alda Echols
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Thanks, this website is very practical.
Feel free to visit my blog post - website hosting and design ( %url )

Mari Gisborne
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Love the site-- really individual friendly and lots to see!wholesale nba jerseys ( %url )

Bryce
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Thanks with regard to supplying these types of superior write-up.
my web page - angka ck togel hk hari ini ( %url )

Guy Conway
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Maintain the awesome work !! Lovin' it!
cheap nba jerseys ( %url )

Jarred Moffit
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Wohh precisely what I was searching for, appreciate it for posting.
My webpage ... gopro mic ( %url )

Eleanor Voyles
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Wow because this is very helpful job! Congrats and keep it up.
cheap jerseys from china ( %url )

Christel
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Merely needed to mention I am glad that i stumbled on your internet page.
my page ... opinion ( %url )

Fallon Mcclellan
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Overall, according to the analytics firm Flurry, over 6.8 million iOS and Android gadgets had been activated on Christmas day time by itself and 242 million apps were downloaded on the same day. Presuming around 50% of those app buys were produced by new phone users, that means folks are installing approximately 17 apps with their brand-new mobile phone on the initial day only.
Look at my blog post Clash Royale Hack ( %url )

Dylan
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
You're an extremely useful website; couldn't make it without ya!topic/4-Reasons-American-Culture-Will-Always-Reject-Socc.htm ( %url )

Lila Waylen
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Wow cuz this is great job! Congrats and keep it up.
My web-site best predator call electronic ( %url )

Devin Hanks
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
The downside of the car tax rates is the trouble it'll cause to average or lower income people. The car market down under displays cars that not only differ in their feature but also the price range. The federal government provides you a proportionate deduction from your taxes equivalent to the complete valued from your car donation.
Feel free to visit my blog: lunge ( %url )

Juanita Copland
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
The Super GT has also been seen at The Strip in Las Venturas. A quick guide to car recycling and what happens to the cars ' the most recycled product in the U. He is also involved in some of the biggest sponsorship deals in F1.
Here is my website chemical supplier ( %url )

Lino Montez
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Cool content you have got here.
my blog: ___________ ( %url )

Karissa
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Great looking site. Assume you did a great deal of your very own coding.
Also visit my webpage thuoc tri benh gan ( %url )

Cyril
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
The knowledge is rather significant.
Here is my blog; _____ seo ( %url )

Kina
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Amazing site you have got here.
My page: review ( %url )

Carmela
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Great looking site. Assume you did a bunch of your very own coding.
my web blog ... website prediksi ( %url )

Ignacio Prentice
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Wow, gorgeous portal. Thnx ...
Look at my site :: definition social media ( %url )

Grant
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Road cars, along with vintage race cars, make the field not seem so limited. Cheap Used Cars Online can be easily found as you just have to do a bit of homework by searching it online. The federal government provides you a proportionate deduction from your taxes equivalent to the complete valued from your car donation.
Here is my homepage :: g spot toy ( %url )

Cornelius Lapp
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Appreciate it for sharing your cool web-site.
Stop by my web page :: Agen Judi Casino Indonesia ( %url )

Kit Dadson
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Wow because this is great work! Congrats and keep it up.
my web site :: down phan mem hoc tieng anh mien phi tot nhat ( %url )

Breanna Andes
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
Nonetheless, a significant Spanish learning program must provide the basics. French is spoken by over 300 million people and could be the language the most spoken as soon as the English language. Website is the easiest medium of emailing the possible customers as you will never have to travel and sell your products.
Review my webpage: strony http://www ( %url )

Records 1 - 25 of 1,001+


If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.