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+

Hester
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
love it, want more
Here is my weblog; how to have an affair ( %url )

Mallory Conforti
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
Passion the website-- extremely user friendly and lots to see!
wholesale nhl jerseys from China ( %url )

Sima
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
Great looking site. Assume you did a lot of your very own html coding.
Also visit my page - Agen Bola Terbesar di Indonesia ( %url )

Chas
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
Thanks meant for giving such well put together articles.
wholesale nfl jerseys ( %url )

Marisa
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
I am not real wonderful with English but I get hold this real easygoing to interpret.
Also visit my page: immigration barristers ( %url )

Chauncey Rehfisch
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based on the same information you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would appreciate your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
Feel free to surf to my blog - passport immigration lawyers ( %url )

Kelli
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
Good Webpage, Continue the wonderful job. Thanks a ton.
Look at my web-site - Bandar Judi Poker Terpercaya ( %url )

Hortense Tiegs
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
The tips is quite appealing.
Stop by my homepage Judi Bola Terpercaya Indonesia ( %url )

Melvin Ashton
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
Great job to Tim McGraw who was a winner at previous night_s fan-voted American Audio Awards. Tim McGraw Concerts 2017 ( %url ) won Favorite Country Song for _Humble and Kind. _ After that he tweeted, _Thank you to everyone who voted and to @LoriMcKennaMA with regard to writing such an incredible song.

Modesto Bean
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
I like this weblog very much so much wonderful information.
Check out my homepage ... immigration interview ( %url )

Hildred Zakrzewski
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
The downside of the car tax rates is the trouble it'll cause to average or lower income people. 4 Kitkat OS QUAD CORE GA5163F Android Car Stereo with 8 Inch Capacitive Touch Screen. These companies figure out also if they will be using the donated auto for charitable features or grant the car to a human currently being or household members in need to have.
Here is my webpage; On Demand Service ( %url )

Elma
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
How are you, great site you have got there.
Here is my blog post :: oreo ( %url )

Santo
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
There's more you can do than just carry your partner long distance relationship in college worth it ( %url ) your heart.

Gracie Hoffmann
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
Many thanks, this website is very valuable.
cheap basketball jerseys from China ( %url )

Danial Gratwick
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
So helpful....looking forward to returning.wholesale nhl jerseys ( %url )

Julieta
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
Great looking web site. Presume you did a great deal of your very own html coding.cheap nfl jerseys ( %url )

Edna Maye
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
love it, want more
My weblog ... dick sucking ( %url )

Dannielle Biddle
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
Really, such a good site.cheap jerseys ( %url )

Sherman
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
By the center of the second day, we students had been nicely on the best way to completing the primary of several bowls of ash, acacia and sycamore.
Here is my web blog ... DIY smart saw discount ( %url )

Brianne Sifford
Sat, Feb 18, 2017
I appreciate checking your website. Thanks a lot!
Here is my homepage; .t4n29klqs ( %url )

Alba
Fri, Feb 17, 2017
Great internet site! It looks extremely professional! Sustain the excellent work!
wholesale mlb jerseys China ( %url )

Nannie Pointer
Fri, Feb 17, 2017
The main reason for this is that many dealerships are anticipating All New models landing throughout the year. A copy of Project CARS was provided for PC for review. These companies figure out also if they will be using the donated auto for charitable features or grant the car to a human currently being or household members in need to have.
my website - Kohler Pump ( %url )

Maik Spivakovsky
Fri, Feb 17, 2017
Sustain the good job and generating the group!cheap ncaa jerseys ( %url )

Petra Cassell
Fri, Feb 17, 2017
This paragraph is in fact a fastidious one it helps new net viewers, who are wishing in favor of blogging.
Visit my web site: body needs ( %url )

Hanna
Fri, Feb 17, 2017
Thank you! This a amazing webpage.
Also visit my website - mg projekt ( %url )

Records 1 - 25 of 1,001+


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