REF and ACTION Congratulate Lucy Chesire for Winning the 2009 Kochon Award
We here at RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) and Advocacy to Control TB Internationally (ACTION) have been lucky enough to experience firsthand Lucy Chesire’s passionate advocacy on behalf of patients living with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, and have long recognized what a powerful spokeswoman and patient-activist she is. On Friday, December 4, the international health community recognized it as well. At the opening ceremony of the annual World Conference of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in Cancun, Mexico, Lucy was awarded the 2009 Kochon Award for her distinguished achievements and advocacy in combating tuberculosis.
TB causes more than nine million illnesses and more than 1.7 million deaths each year, yet it rarely receives attention in the news and in public policy. Lucy is working to change that, speaking out both at home in Kenya and around the world. In 1992, she was the first Kenyan woman to come out as an HIV-positive health care worker. Lucy was diagnosed with TB in 2000, after enduring seven months in the hospital, multiple surgeries, and visits to countless doctors who misdiagnosed her TB. But Lucy didn’t just survive her TB-HIV co-infection. Instead, she turned her personal battle into a passionate commitment to helping others achieve TB prevention and treatment, especially those living with HIV. Nearly one-third of the world’s population is infected with TB — Lucy is helping to make their voices heard worldwide.
During her time working with the Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium (KANCO), Lucy has lobbied the World Bank for TB funding, spoken at international TB events, and served as the first patient representative on the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board. She also helped start an ACTION group in Kenya, a TB activist organization with partners in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, India, and Australia.
In October, Lucy traveled to Washington to share her story and inspire action to combat TB, AIDS, and malaria. In a whirlwind trip, Lucy inspired RESULTS activists in Maryland, made multiple trips to Capitol Hill, and lobbied Representatives to support funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Lucy is one of TB-HIV’s most prominent activists, and has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty. Please join us in congratulating Lucy for her hard work, fiery spirit, and continuing efforts on behalf of those living with HIV, dying of TB.