Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ryan Wilcox - Ice Skater and Long Term AIDS Survivor

This Sunday May 24th at 9pm EST the POZ I AM Radio hosts will be speaking with long term HIV/AIDS survivor & Ice Skater Ryan Wilcox. Ryan Wilcox is a 50-year-old Denverite, who was born in Greeley and raised on a dairy farm in Ca on City. In 1979, he contracted HIV/AIDS before there even was the diagnosis of AIDS. Doctors initially diagnosed him with Cyclo Mega Virus (which was essentially an umbrella term to describe many viruses the doctors could not at the time identify).

In 1981 his illness became GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency) and finally in 1984 he received the official prognosis of AIDS. Ryan has been living with AIDS for almost 31 one years, being one of the first to experience the struggles and stigmas that come with the disease. After losing his partner of many in years in 1989 due to AIDS, Ryan started a slow decline into depression and failing health.By 2006, Ryan was walking with a cane and his weight had fallen to 97 pounds. It was in 2006 that Ryan had first heard of the Gay Games, when he was invited by friends to participate and "flag" for the opening ceremonies in Chicago. Due to his health, he was not able to attend..

After learning about the Gay Games, Ryan was inspired to change his life. He wanted to participate in the 2010 Gay Games. He then returned to his childhood passion and sport of figure skating, which his grandmother had him involved in as a child in Colorado Springs. Ryan enrolled in a "Learn To Skate" program at Big Bear Ice Arena in Denver and also began taking private lessons. Slowly his strength and articulation came back to him. 

At the time, He didn't know how he would get there (Germany) but that was his dream,. That is how Ryan's dream started but it has transformed into something else entirely. Ryan's dream is far from over as he is now in the process of trying to raise money to send himself and his skating coach to Germany in August. Being on disability for so many years has prevented Ryan from being able to work a normal job because he would lose his health care benefits.

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