My Football Star

I just learned that my football star, Wilfred, died today in Kenya. In his memory, these are the words I wrote about him 2 years ago....


Admissions Committee

He looks like the perfect college applicant. He has a set of nearly perfect grades on his high school transcript, a really great score on the national exam for high school students that determines placement into the Kenyan universities, and a record of leadership in student organizations and leading his soccer team to national victory. He is 18-years-old, and he wants to be a doctor. When he talks about his hopes for the future, his dreams gleam in his eyes with the determination of the focused forward who fought through match after match until he shot that stunning final goal.

The only complications to this college application are the laboratory results printed on the paper in front of me. Not only is he infected with HIV, but his immune system is not doing well. His CD4 cells, the cells that fight infection, are low, low, low. And his viral load, the measure of the amount of virus in his blood, is very high.

If only his HIV medicines had been as successful as his row of straight As. Worse yet, he is already on our second-line of HIV medicines, and right now I can only occasionally get a third set of medicines from the government after special pleas and petitions for a few special cases. I will make my best case to this health admissions committee.

"I will fight it," he says. And I believe him. He has tried so hard. He has done so well. He meets my eyes as I sigh and struggle over our options. "I will fight it."

Fight we must.

(Dear Admissions Committee, Please accept him. We'll try to keep him alive for you.)

Posted at 14:11


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