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<v Doreen Sharpton>David was a beautiful baby, he was gorgeous when he was born, I had <v Doreen Sharpton>more compliments on him and he grew up into a handsome boy. <v Man>I've-I've never seen anybody quite like that. <v Man>I've never seen an intensity or energy level or conviction <v Man>quite like that, and that was really something to behold. <v Woman>I think he was the pioneer. <v Woman>He was so fiery and so adamant that this message needed to be <v Woman>brought to the public attention. <v Woman>And then when he stopped doing it, it just kind of-has <v Woman>settled in the background. <v Doreen Sharpton>It's hard because it's just a mother's love, you know, I guess <v Doreen Sharpton>when you carry that baby for nine months inside you, you got that special bond, you know?
<v Doreen Sharpton>And that's what I think that when that certain part goes and when <v Doreen Sharpton>a certain person dies, that's part of you gone too. <v David Sharpton>As a tool of compassion-[Conversation becomes indistinct] <v Narrator>The many faces of a man who fought an uncommon battle in an unlikely setting, <v Narrator>a life that raised as many questions as it answered. <v Narrator>A man who in the same life could be heroically and tragically symbolic <v Narrator>of a disease that was unknown when he was born. <v Narrator>For 3 and a half years, we walked with David Sharpton seeking answers to the questions <v Narrator>he left in his wake. <v Narrator>3 and a half years as seen through the eyes of the men and women who worked with him, <v Narrator>fought him and knew him, and also was seen through the eyes of David, <v Narrator>a man fighting for his life against AIDS.
<v Narrator>David Sharpton was first diagnosed with AIDS in Dallas, Texas in 1985. <v Narrator>Relatively early in the global epidemic and decidedly early in his life, <v Narrator>he was 25 and certain he would die. <v David Sharpton>Well, my first emotional reaction was, "Oh my God, I'm going to die.", <v David Sharpton>And I really felt like I was going to be dead within the year. <v David Sharpton>That there was no hope, that I-I had AIDS and that I was just going to go downhill <v David Sharpton>from that point on the people who had AIDS just don't live with this disease, <v David Sharpton>that they die, it's terminal. <v David Sharpton>And um so I told my family I had a terminal illness <v David Sharpton>and I was dying. <v Narrator>As the shock of the diagnosis slowly wore off and the steady flow of infection <v Narrator>fighting pills became commonplace. <v Narrator>A transformation started to take place in David Sharpton. <v David Sharpton>My life is definitely going to get cut off short, so I got <v David Sharpton>the short end of the stick.
<v David Sharpton>But at the same time, I have chosen <v David Sharpton>that, that life, whether it's 2 years or 5 years <v David Sharpton>or 6 months, it's going to be quality that I will <v David Sharpton>work to help people, that I will work <v David Sharpton>to help educate, that I will work to help <v David Sharpton>those who are dying. <v David Sharpton>And it's it's not necessarily <v David Sharpton>so much the fact that life holds a ball, that <v David Sharpton>life is a bowl full of cherries, because it's not. <v David Sharpton>Life has a lot of struggles we have to go through, and a lot of mountains we have to <v David Sharpton>climb and AIDS is just one of the hills leading to the mountain. <v David Sharpton>In many ways, AIDS is a mountain for some people, but I have made a decision <v David Sharpton>that it's just going to be a hill in my life. <v Narrator>David Sharpton selected what many viewed as an unlikely spot to climb his
<v Narrator>personal hill against AIDS. <v Narrator>When he arrived in Salt Lake City late in 1987, Utah was a low prevalence <v Narrator>site for the AIDS epidemic. <v Narrator>Only a few dozen cases had been diagnosed, and AIDS was still considered a low <v Narrator>priority public health issue. <v Narrator>The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or the Mormon Church is headquartered <v Narrator>here, and the LDS Church had excommunicated David Sharpton in a conflict <v Narrator>over his homosexuality. <v David Sharpton>Well, basically, the reason I moved to Salt Lake City was because I <v David Sharpton>am from a LDS background, and I felt a real <v David Sharpton>need for this area of the country to be educated <v David Sharpton>on living with AIDS, to see people visibly <v David Sharpton>speaking out who have AIDS. <v David Sharpton>I no longer felt I could just sit back and do nothing. <v David Sharpton>That I could sit back and see what was going <v David Sharpton>on around us in our community with AIDS.
<v David Sharpton>The big denial that was there, the big fear that was there <v David Sharpton>that people were going through around this issue. <v David Sharpton>You see tragic circumstances, people committing suicide <v David Sharpton>because they're HIV positive and don't have the support system. <v David Sharpton>People who are refused housing because they're HIV positive, <v David Sharpton>people who are refused medical services in this state because they <v David Sharpton>are HIV positive. The importance of emotional and social support <v David Sharpton>outweighs anything with the disease AIDS. <v Narrator>It's now January of 1989. <v Narrator>In the past two years, Utah's handful of AIDS cases has grown to 180. <v Narrator>David Sharpton is the executive director of the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah. <v Narrator>He's a co-founder. Never much more than a telephone and a desk, the <v Narrator>coalition begins to serve as a magnet for a dramatically increasing number of people
<v Narrator>with AIDS or the AIDS causing virus. <v Narrator>In the center of it all is David Sharpton. <v David Sharpton>What's on your agenda for today? <v Norma Hird>I mean, that place was bustling. Here is David on the phone talking to somebody. <v Norma Hird>Yelling at somebody else, getting tickets out the door and handing it to me. <v Norma Hird>Taking my $20 bill as a contribution to the People with AIDS Coalition <v Norma Hird>and thanking me. And-and I'm-I'm-I'm thinking <v Norma Hird>is this, you know, this guy's got AIDS and he's doing all this. <v Norma Hird>You never felt like anybody was in there was sick. <v Norma Hird>I mean, David, just has it buzzing all the time. <v Woman>Yes. <v David Sharpton>We've been there for her and this other person is saying, tell your family, tell your <v David Sharpton>family. What most people don't realize is that the issues in Utah are such that you can't <v David Sharpton>always tell your family because of the-the stigma and the rejection <v David Sharpton>that is attached to it, that AIDS diagnosis. <v David Sharpton>AIDS is my life, AIDS is my career,
<v David Sharpton>and I will go to my grave <v David Sharpton>teaching and fighting AIDS. <v Narrator>In many respects, David Sharpton was the first person with AIDS to speak out in Utah. <v Narrator>He broke through an invisible wall of silence, and as that wall fell, <v Narrator>Utah started to take notice. <v Narrator>One of the first to take notice was Lucy Schoell, an infectious disease nurse <v Narrator>now with the Veterans Administration Medical Center. <v Narrator>Schoell was trying to find a person with the AIDS causing HIV disease to educate <v Narrator>the public. <v Lucy Schoell>So I asked David if he would do this, and he was more than willing. <v Lucy Schoell>And it was kind of a scary thing to do because there was no one else at that point and <v Lucy Schoell>time in the state of Utah who had HIV disease, who would go out and speak <v Lucy Schoell>publicly. <v Lucy Schoell>So really, he was a pioneer in the state and he was really a godsend <v Lucy Schoell>to the state of Utah to get this movement underway, to help people
<v Lucy Schoell>see someone who has this disease so that they can address their own issues <v Lucy Schoell>and learn how to accept their loved ones and family members who have this <v Lucy Schoell>disease. <v Narrator>Eventually, Sharpton would join a circuit riding AIDS education program that crisscrossed <v Narrator>the state, working with rural care providers who were increasingly involved with AIDS. <v Lucy Schoell>After every one of those programs, those people in the rural parts of Utah <v Lucy Schoell>who are really afraid of the disease and are really homophobic would come up to him <v Lucy Schoell>and just throw their arms around him and let him <v Lucy Schoell>know how grateful they were that he had come, been willing to openly <v Lucy Schoell>speak, share his experiences with them so that they <v Lucy Schoell>could better understand how they could take care of patients who have this disease. <v David Sharpton>I get very nervous when I go into rural Utah [small chuckle] because <v David Sharpton>of the fears and the phobias. I have fears of getting lynched as <v David Sharpton>being a homosexual with AIDS in these small communities are fears
<v David Sharpton>of people who really, really don't want to change their mind. <v David Sharpton>I guess that's my biggest fear is that I go out there and I want to address <v David Sharpton>the needs of people with AIDS, but yet I want to make sure <v David Sharpton>that I don't offend the people I'm addressing, and with this <v David Sharpton>issue, that's very hard to do. <v Narrator>By the spring of 1989, David was thrust quite willingly to center stage <v Narrator>as Utah, rural areas, and the nation's heartland joined the rest of the nation <v Narrator>in facing a future with AIDS. <v David Sharpton>I think that society has not yet began to really delve into <v David Sharpton>the future of AIDS, to really look into the telescope
<v David Sharpton>and see what a huge situation they're dealing with, <v David Sharpton>that AIDS isn't going away in the next 5 to 10 years, that AIDS <v David Sharpton>most likely will be with us permanently. <v David Sharpton>So we've got to pull our heads out of the sand. <v David Sharpton>We've got to start educating each other. <v David Sharpton>It's-[Conversation becomes indistinct]. <v Donald Steward>The first time I met David, he was speaking at the Salt Palace and <v Donald Steward>he was just on a tear. <v Donald Steward>He was-he was just really animated and just had such passion and conviction, and <v Donald Steward>he was really intense. <v Donald Steward>And I was quite amazed because you just don't see that sort of level of intensity. <v Louise Eutropius>At his best, he was very articulate. <v Louise Eutropius>He had a very well-formed opinions, he was very <v Louise Eutropius>good at communicating with the audience and getting the audience to sort of walk in his <v Louise Eutropius>shoes. <v Dr. Kristen Ries>He didn't pussyfoot around, he just told them like it was. <v Dr. Kristen Ries>And that was very hard for some people here.
<v Dr. Kristen Ries>That's what everybody needed to hear, and so he really did a great service to Utah. <v Lucy Schoell>And he made this very serious illness, something that people could <v Lucy Schoell>look at as being truly serious. <v Lucy Schoell>But yet. <v Lucy Schoell>He helped them to see the light side of it. <v Lucy Schoell>And one of the very most important things he did was to put a face on the <v Lucy Schoell>on the disease. <v Louise Eutropius>As David used to say, I am a ?inaudible?, I think. <v Louise Eutropius>You know, he was the most visible person he-if <v Louise Eutropius>there was a camera there you know, David made the appearance. <v Lee Weaver>You know when someone is dying of cancer like-[Weaver's lecture becomes indistinct]. <v Narrator>David made many of his appearances on university campuses and frequently talked <v Narrator>to University of Utah classes taught by Lee Weaver. <v Narrator>The topic was death and dying, often an abstract notion for a classroom <v Narrator>of 20 year olds. <v Lee Weaver>Almost every student, every course, every quarter has written
<v Lee Weaver>a reaction paper on David, and they talk about the impact <v Lee Weaver>he made on their lives over and over. <v Lee Weaver>I'd hear people say I kind of wanted to stay away from these people with AIDS. <v Lee Weaver>I kind of didn't want to face the issue. <v Lee Weaver>I mean, it's not my situation. <v Lee Weaver>So why should I bother with it? <v Lee Weaver>But somehow, after David talked, I don't think I'll ever forget him. <v Lee Weaver>I think I'll remember the humanity of the young people who are dying <v Lee Weaver>of AIDS. <v Narrator>But the gloves could come off when Sharpton would take on state government over its <v Narrator>response to AIDS, refusing to compromise and often threatening to enlist <v Narrator>an increasingly attentive press corps in his battles. <v Narrator>Sharpton negotiated simply digging in until the other side wore <v Narrator>down. <v Francine Giani>After about 45 minutes of-of screaming, <v Francine Giani>yelling, and it was for me too.
<v Francine Giani>And it was-it was Dave and I just kind of going at it, and I was trying to <v Francine Giani>have him see my side of you know the view. <v Francine Giani>He was trying to have me see his, and back and forth. <v Francine Giani>By the end of that conversation, you know, we were doing an AIDS awareness week <v Francine Giani>for David Sharpton. <v David Sharpton>Because it's obvious these people feel that once you're a person with AIDS, then you <v David Sharpton>become just a statistic and then you no <v David Sharpton>longer have any rights, and that's just not true. <v Donald Steward>We had so many projects going on and there was just <v Donald Steward>this real sort of Joan of Arc kind of conviction <v Donald Steward>that we were doing the right thing against incredible odds. <v Donald Steward>And this is where we needed to be, and we had certain skills, and these skills were going <v Donald Steward>to be perfect in this situation. <v Donald Steward>And David was right there at the helm and he was very <v Donald Steward>healthy, and getting back to that passion and animation, he was <v Donald Steward>just really in his prime. <v Donald Steward>And things were going very, very well.
<v Donald Steward>Even though community wise, a lot of people weren't listening to the AIDS message. <v Donald Steward>We felt as if we were making a lot of progress. <v Narrator>The sense of progress received a dramatic boost in the spring of 1989 with <v Narrator>the arrival of the NAMES Project Quilt in Salt Lake City. <v Narrator>The quilt is a symbolic reminder of those who have died from AIDS. <v Narrator>With the growth of the death toll, the quilt no longer travels. <v Narrator>No arena can accommodate its full size. <v Narrator>But in 1989, it toured the nation and for three days drew steady <v Narrator>crowds to a Salt Lake City convention center. <v Narrator>And in the hour before it opened, it also attracted a frightened family. <v Narrator>Carolyn Spriggs was with her adopted 3 year old son, Tyler. <v Narrator>Tyler was born with the AIDS virus, driven by love, confused <v Narrator>by issues of life and death. <v Narrator>They came to the quilt looking for direction and found David Sharpton.
<v Carolyn Spriggs>And I met David in the middle of the quilt, came up and introduced himself to me, <v Carolyn Spriggs>a very loving, caring person. <v Carolyn Spriggs>At his best, he gave them the words of encouragement to <v Carolyn Spriggs>fight for what they wanted, and the kind of life they wanted to have. <v Carolyn Spriggs>What-for how long? Ever long that life was. <v Carolyn Spriggs>And that was the thing that most impressed <v Carolyn Spriggs>me. That he had the same thing, but he gave people the words and encouragement <v Carolyn Spriggs>to fight. He helped people fight. <v Speaker>?Jeffie? Plum-[Words become indistinct] <v Narrator> Sharpton would enlist Carolyn and Tyler Spriggs in the battle for public <v Narrator>awareness, convincing them that it was their battle as well. <v Narrator>With his adopted mom, Tyler would carry the message of understanding to the elementary <v Narrator>schools of Utah. <v David Sharpton>Robert ?inaudible?. <v Narrator>Despite his diagnosis, the Spring and Summer of 1989 were the best of times <v Narrator>for David Sharpton. His days were filled with friction and function in his campaign
<v Narrator>for AIDS awareness, and even when complications forced him briefly into the hospital, <v Narrator>he showed few signs of slowing down. <v Norma Hird>I mean, this kid was on the phone constantly doing things, taking care of things. <v Norma Hird>If he saw a patient that needed some help and heard about it, he was on the phone <v Norma Hird>taking care of it, whether it was hospitalization or Social Security or Medicaid or <v Norma Hird>housing or something else. He never slow down when he was in the hospital. <v David Sharpton>The press would like to come across with this vision that everyone <v David Sharpton>who has AIDS is emaciated, and that's not necessarily true. <v David Sharpton>Obviously, I'm not emaciated. <v David Sharpton>I-those people are in their last stages of this disease. <v David Sharpton>I may get to that point one day, but at this point I am a person <v David Sharpton>who is living with the disease. <v David Sharpton>A person who is very much
<v David Sharpton>an optimist and will not give in to that social pressure. <v Kristen Ries>I don't have the scientific proof, but I know it so; that somebody like David, who <v Kristen Ries>has a goal, and something he's striving for, patients do better, there's just <v Kristen Ries>no question. Those that come and say, I have AIDS, I'm going to die, and <v Kristen Ries>they don't want to have any goals or anything, they do die quicker, there's no question. <v Kristen Ries>David, his whole activism is what he kept him going. <v Lucy Schoell>A lot of it-I mean, there were people in the state of Utah who even questioned that he <v Lucy Schoell>was infected because he was so healthy and so strong. <v Interviewer>Did you have that feeling? <v Louise Eutropius>Yes, it's true. I mean, David was-David was going to be the person who beat this thing. <v Louise Eutropius>He was-he was very convinced about that, I think he convinced a lot of us that this <v Louise Eutropius>disease was not going to get him, and could get other people, but it wasn't going to get <v Louise Eutropius>David Sharpton. <v Ken Verdoia>But the optimism of 1989 soon gave way to the realities of 1990. <v Ken Verdoia>If Utah was now more aware of the impact of AIDS, there was also the realization
<v Ken Verdoia>that society faced a very long and painful struggle against the disease. <v Ken Verdoia>Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City saw a dramatic growth in the number of AIDS related <v Ken Verdoia>admissions over the course of the year. <v Ken Verdoia>And if David Sharpton appeared invincible in 1989, 1990 <v Ken Verdoia>would prove otherwise. And the year would end with David, a virtual outcast <v Ken Verdoia>from the very movement he had championed. <v Donald Steward>And there was so much political pressure, the funding for AIDS services was starting to <v Donald Steward>dry up. The novelty of the illness was starting to dry <v Donald Steward>up. We were kind of in for the long haul and people <v Donald Steward>had to be very serious and commit, and a lot of the people that originally came in with <v Donald Steward>a real gusto were just very drained and tired. <v Donald Steward>And in Utah, we never thought we would see 100 or 200 <v Donald Steward>people with full blown AIDS, now we're over 600. <v Donald Steward>We thought it would be cured by now, I think a lot of people optimistically thought that,
<v Donald Steward>and when it didn't things got very ugly and a lot of pressure was placed <v Donald Steward>on various people. And with David being so visible, he was an obvious target. <v Louise Eutropius>We talked about the momentum and I think he sort of realized that the momentum was <v Louise Eutropius>slipping. Any-I sense he started become very frustrated, <v Louise Eutropius>and as the more frustrated he became, the more sort of radical <v Louise Eutropius>he started becoming. Started acting out, in my mind, <v Louise Eutropius>making some inappropriate statements and so forth, and we had some real concerns about <v Louise Eutropius>whether or not he was actually at that point starting to alienate some people. <v Carolyn Spriggs>I saw David get angry and hurt and defiant, <v Carolyn Spriggs>and I knew part of that was the disease that was going on with him. <v Carolyn Spriggs>I saw him do things that um he wasn't proud of, <v Carolyn Spriggs>let alone, you know. And yet the mother instinct me wanted to protect him <v Carolyn Spriggs>because I knew that part of his anger, a part of it-all of it had to do with
<v Carolyn Spriggs>a lifestyle and a disease that was destroying his body and that he was <v Carolyn Spriggs>fighting against, and he didn't want it to destroy him. <v Lucy Schoell>He always did say, I have a right to this anger. <v Lucy Schoell>And that anger was not something that most people close to him could <v Lucy Schoell>bear for a sustained period. <v Lucy Schoell>You know, you kind of had to go in and out of his life when he got to that point because <v Lucy Schoell>you just-no one could tolerate it for a long period <v Lucy Schoell>of time. <v Ken Verdoia>In the fall of 1989, Eugene Gudaitis was working as a volunteer in the People <v Ken Verdoia>with AIDS Coalition Office in Salt Lake City. <v Ken Verdoia>The soft spoken guditus was waging his own battle against AIDS, a battle that <v Ken Verdoia>continues to this day. <v Ken Verdoia>Well aware of how an AIDS diagnosis can change a person's world, guditus was <v Ken Verdoia>working with David Sharpton on a daily basis. <v Ken Verdoia>He watched the changes taking place and then one pivotal day was
<v Ken Verdoia>thrown into a wall by David during an argument. <v Eugene Gudaitis>You know, he didn't mean it in a you know like, he was going to kill me physically, you <v Eugene Gudaitis>know, I don't- I don't really think that at all. <v Eugene Gudaitis>But when something like that happens, you start to sit back. <v Eugene Gudaitis>And I became afraid of him from that moment, you know it was <v Eugene Gudaitis>like, you know, if he was coming up to the office, I left because, you <v Eugene Gudaitis>know, it was scary. You know, I didn't know when that would happen again. <v Ken Verdoia>It was one in a string of incidents that even allies found difficult to ignore. <v Donald Steward>And I think one of the most unfortunate parts about it was David had a very important <v Donald Steward>message, but the credibility of the package that it was wrapped up in was really <v Donald Steward>compromised. So even though he was saying something vital, <v Donald Steward>he could be dismissed as being fanatic or too angry or <v Donald Steward>having psychological issues or-or dementia was a word that was bandied about
<v Donald Steward>a lot, which was a little bit out of context, but the theme of it was-was <v Donald Steward>true. <v Donald Steward>His credibility was very, very compromised. <v Carolyn Spriggs>He was alienating people by things that he was saying, closing more doors <v Carolyn Spriggs>than he was opening, and we didn't want that for him. <v Carolyn Spriggs>We didn't want him to destroy what he had created, and that was hard. <v Ken Verdoia>The board of directors of the People with AIDS Coalition, a board hand-picked by David <v Ken Verdoia>Sharpton, was on the horns of a dilemma. <v Ken Verdoia>Knowing what they knew, professing compassion for people battling AIDS, <v Ken Verdoia>could they-should they fire the founder? <v Carolyn Spriggs>There is such a um division of emotions there, knowing <v Carolyn Spriggs>that if we wanted to keep the coalition- coalition alive, <v Carolyn Spriggs>David had to step down, but if we wanted to keep David alive. <v Carolyn Spriggs>So where do you draw the line? You know, we had to think of the masses of people <v Carolyn Spriggs>instead of the one person. <v Louise Eutropius>I mean, it was extremely difficult for me.
<v Louise Eutropius>I was a wreck over it, and it really-I mean, David <v Louise Eutropius>and I went the rounds, no doubt about it. You know, we spent hours on the telephone <v Louise Eutropius>going over the situation, how it could be rectified. <v Louise Eutropius>Yelling, screaming, crying um it was hard. <v Donald Steward>And so he-he was basically stripped of his position, and <v Donald Steward>I think the really tragic part about that was David was the People <v Donald Steward>with AIDS Coalition. That was his baby, and that was part of his credibility. <v Donald Steward>It wasn't David Sharpton, it was David Sharpton, executive director of the People with <v Donald Steward>AIDS Coalition. They were synonymous. <v Donald Steward>You couldn't separate one from the other, and when he lost that, I think he lost <v Donald Steward>a huge chunk of his identity, which was pretty tragic. <v Ken Verdoia>By the time David appears in this 1990 AIDS education video, he <v Ken Verdoia>is out as executive director of the People with AIDS Coalition of Utah.
<v Ken Verdoia>The explanation is an extended medical leave of absence. <v Ken Verdoia>Many observers mark this time as the beginning of the end for David Sharpton. <v David Sharpton>As I've said before, all people who have AIDS will be and must <v David Sharpton>be heard. Their voices will no longer be silenced. <v Eugene Gudaitis>I mean, he felt like, you know, well this is it, you know, I've got-what am I going <v Eugene Gudaitis>to do now? You know, he didn't-he didn't know what else <v Eugene Gudaitis>to do. You know, AIDS was his life. <v Louise Eutropius>I think it was extremely difficult, and unfortunately, <v Louise Eutropius>you know, right or wrong, it happened. <v Louise Eutropius>And I always wonder if that in part wasn't the start of sort of the downward <v Louise Eutropius>spiral. <v Donald Steward>It was a pitiful process. It really was. <v Donald Steward>I-I think his identity and his health were really synonymous with his position <v Donald Steward>and his achievements.
<v Donald Steward>David did a great many things, and with that decline, <v Donald Steward>incredibility that decline in position, his health just tumbled. <v Carolyn Spriggs>I never saw him smile again, I can be honest about that. <v Carolyn Spriggs>And I, you know, stayed on a lot of the boards and stuff that he was on <v Carolyn Spriggs>and that he just went down to where he wasn't on anything, didn't really <v Carolyn Spriggs>have a purpose. <v David Sharpton>And it's concerning her absurd statement in the newspaper about people with AIDS, <v David Sharpton>the innocent and guilty issues. <v David Sharpton>I'm the founder of the People with AIDS Coalition. <v Ken Verdoia>By the spring of 1991, David Sharpton is firing fewer shots at the public <v Ken Verdoia>response to AIDS. He has just passed his 6th anniversary with the disease <v Ken Verdoia>[David talking to the newspaper in the background] In the two years from 1989 to 1991, <v Ken Verdoia>the number of AIDS cases in Utah has grown from 180 to <v Ken Verdoia>roughly 400.
<v Ken Verdoia>One year has past since he was excused from his high profile role in Utah's <v Ken Verdoia>AIDS awareness campaign, but the wound is still open. <v David Sharpton>I have suffered very deeply since, ironically, since I left the organization <v David Sharpton>and the emotional attachment I've gotten ?inaudible? <v David Sharpton>basically. That-that's what's happened, and-and <v David Sharpton>I cannot help but say that's because I'm not as involved as I've been. <v David Sharpton>I've given up in many ways and I've let go. <v Interviewer>Let go of what? <v David Sharpton>I've-I've let go of-of my life basically <v David Sharpton>to-to begin the journey that we call death. <v David Sharpton>But the bottom line is that people have got to come into the picture <v David Sharpton>that can make a difference. It cannot be the David Sharpton AIDS show in the state <v David Sharpton>of Utah. It's that simple, and it was-it was very
<v David Sharpton>difficult. I went through mourning over losing my organization, <v David Sharpton>and I realized that it was a lot of the anger that AIDS had caused. <v David Sharpton>I'm the first one to admit that, that there was a lot of anger with me at that point in <v David Sharpton>my life, and I really needed to break away and to get out <v David Sharpton>of it. AIDS has been put on the backburner, it's not a-it's not a social issue anymore. <v David Sharpton>It's-there's so many cases of the disease you'd think it would be, but <v David Sharpton>because of that, everyone thinks, oh, AIDS is an issue. <v David Sharpton>We don't really it's-it's there. <v David Sharpton>We know it's there, and we have to deal with it, but we don't have to support it, <v David Sharpton>and that's tragic, it's real tragic. <v Ken Verdoia>In the Spring of 1991, David Sharpton's focus is now on keeping himself <v Ken Verdoia>alive. Like many people with AIDS, his life is tied to his medication <v Ken Verdoia>cycles. He's reached the point where an intravenous tube is permanently fixed <v Ken Verdoia>in his arm to accommodate the multiple daily injections that fight infection,
<v Ken Verdoia>boosting an immune system that has virtually ceased to exist. <v Interviewer>Do you feel that you're a walking, talking medical experiment? <v David Sharpton>[David chuckles] Very much so. I mean, the majority of the drugs that I'm on have been <v David Sharpton>experimental, and it's-you just become a walking guinea <v David Sharpton>pig, basically. <v David Sharpton>And it's very it's extremely tough on you emotionally <v David Sharpton>knowing that everything you're on has not really been-been <v David Sharpton>approved, and so you don't know what it's going to do. <v David Sharpton>And, you know, I'm not an atheist by any means, but I'm beginning to challenge <v David Sharpton>God on a lot of issues. It's like, why is this happening to me? <v David Sharpton>A lot of it is bartering, it's like I've given, and I've given , and I've given, and I've <v David Sharpton>given, and all of a sudden I'm getting sick. <v David Sharpton>Why? You know, and so I do challenge <v David Sharpton>that and I do challenge God and say, why are you doing this?
<v Ken Verdoia>[Indistinct conversation] David's public appearances are dwindling. <v Ken Verdoia>In this educational teleconference staged at the University of Utah. <v Ken Verdoia>He was not a scheduled participant, but is called out of the audience by author <v Ken Verdoia>Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to share his views on AIDS and <v Ken Verdoia>on life and death. <v Ken Verdoia>People remembering the aggressive AIDS activist of 1989 are stunned <v Ken Verdoia>by the vision of David Sharpton in 1991. <v Louise Eutropius>He lost a lot of weight, um he looked older. <v Louise Eutropius>He looked-he didn't have the same fire in him <v Louise Eutropius>that he did. <v Lucy Schoell>His vitality seemed to leave and he would-he reached a point where <v Lucy Schoell>survival for him was a day to day thing. <v Lucy Schoell>You know, he had to conserve his energy for the things he needed to do for him, <v Lucy Schoell>and he didn't have the energy to go out and do public speaking or-or <v Lucy Schoell>help run any organization he knows.
<v Lucy Schoell>He was just trying to survive physically and emotionally. <v David Sharpton>This is a real serious thing that's happening, and you begin to <v David Sharpton>make the long distance phone calls and get your $500 phone bills just from <v David Sharpton>take-giving a release to people and telling them goodbye, <v David Sharpton>and that's been real difficult, but it's something I want to deal with. <v David Sharpton>I want to have total when I'm gone. <v David Sharpton>I want to make sure that people understand where I'm at with this disease <v David Sharpton>and where I was at, and hopefully remember me for who I am, and what I am. <v David Sharpton>And, you know, that I'm just a person. <v David Sharpton>I've got a lot of willpower and a lot of push. <v David Sharpton>But the bottom line is there's a virus that is killing me, <v David Sharpton>and there's no doubt in my mind. <v David Sharpton>The average cost of one person's diagnosis is $200,000 dollars for ?inaudible? you know-[Speech becomes indistinct]. <v Ken Verdoia>1992 arrives, the last year of David's life and he makes his final
<v Ken Verdoia>public speaking appearance in Provo, Utah. <v Ken Verdoia>Utah now has 550 reported cases of AIDS, a 1,300% <v Ken Verdoia>increase in cases in five years, 350 have died. <v Ken Verdoia>One million Americans now carry the AIDS causing virus, a quarter <v Ken Verdoia>of a million have AIDS, 145,000 have died in <v Ken Verdoia>this nation. Globally an estimated 11 million people <v Ken Verdoia>are carrying the AIDS causing virus. <v Ken Verdoia>In January of 1992, David Sharpton is nearing the end. <v David Sharpton>I'm very wary now, I'm very tired of fighting. <v David Sharpton>I'm at a point where, like with all the ups and downs that <v David Sharpton>I've seen with the disease, I'm extremely tired of fighting. <v Ken Verdoia>In the first days of 1992, the end, which had always seemed somewhat <v Ken Verdoia>abstract to David in his early years with AIDS, started rushing towards
<v Ken Verdoia>him. <v Ken Verdoia>A relationship with a longtime companion had withered, his role as a spokesman, <v Ken Verdoia>as a leader in the AIDS awareness movement had similarly evaporated. <v Ken Verdoia>AIDS became a daily, personal, painful struggle. <v Ken Verdoia>It was time for David to seek mooring in a safe harbor. <v Ken Verdoia>Kristen Ries, who'd been David's doctor since his arrival in Salt Lake City almost five <v Ken Verdoia>years. Early in 1992, David had a final office visit, <v Ken Verdoia>unlike these scenes from 1989. <v Ken Verdoia>His health was now failing rapidly. <v Ken Verdoia>Kristen Ries tells David Sharpton, he does not have much time. <v Kristen Ries>He knew it was time to go and to go home. <v Kristen Ries>I mean, that obviously was what he was headed for.
<v Ken Verdoia>Lancaster, Texas is only a few miles south of downtown Dallas, yet retains <v Ken Verdoia>firm roots as a hard working small town in the Bible Belt. <v Ken Verdoia>In the 1970s, David's family moved into one of the residential subdivisions <v Ken Verdoia>that was rapidly dotting the countryside. <v Ken Verdoia>In February of 1992, David Sharpton came home. <v Ken Verdoia>[Indistinct conversation between David's mother and David]. <v Ken Verdoia>His mother, Doreen, was a British war bride. <v Ken Verdoia>She's proud of the lilting accent that still sets her speech apart from the soft drawl of <v Ken Verdoia>rural Texas, and Doreen Sharpton understands pain. <v Ken Verdoia>In 1978, she lost her youngest son, Duane, in a drowning accident. <v Ken Verdoia>Her husband died from cancer nine months later. <v Ken Verdoia>In 1992 her son, David, has come home to die. <v Ken Verdoia>Doreen Sharpton faces her son's final days through the limitations of <v Ken Verdoia>her own muscular dystrophy. <v Doreen Sharpton>I'm doing all I can for him and I'll do it to the very end.
<v Doreen Sharpton>Even if David asked to go in-in one of these places, you know at the very end <v Doreen Sharpton>that's completely bedridden. <v Doreen Sharpton>I'll be with him everyday. <v Doreen Sharpton>I'll be with him as the Lord gives me the strength to get down there. <v Doreen Sharpton>I'll be ready everyday watching him, to see him get care. <v Doreen Sharpton>That's all I want. Nobody's gonna hurt David, nobody. <v Doreen Sharpton>As long as I'm alive. I know that. <v Doreen Sharpton>[Indistinct conversation]. <v Ken Verdoia>David's condition is rapidly deteriorating. <v Ken Verdoia>He is suffering nerve degeneration known as neuropathy. <v Ken Verdoia>He's falling a lot, he is also deteriorating mentally with dementia, <v Ken Verdoia>a symptom that can be associated with AIDS final stages. <v Ken Verdoia>It's increasingly difficult for him to concentrate and communicate. <v Interviewer>Can you feel your body change? <v Interviewer>Can you feel that the changes are going on that are not good changes? <v David Sharpton>Yeah, I do. I felt like ?I can't feel that?
<v David Sharpton>because of the-the um the <v David Sharpton>neuropathy has made it where- where <v David Sharpton>I can't walk. <v David Sharpton>So I have to use a walker and a wheelchair constantly. <v Doreen Sharpton>And uh it's so sad to see these things for David, because David <v Doreen Sharpton>was always such a proud young man, he did everything for himself. <v Doreen Sharpton>He never bothered anybody for anything, and he still is a brave young man, <v Doreen Sharpton>a courageous young man, as far as I'm concerned, because he never complains, <v Doreen Sharpton>he never, ever complains. <v Doreen Sharpton>He never asked anybody for anything, he's very quiet that <v Doreen Sharpton>he thinks a lot, I know David thinks a lot. <v Doreen Sharpton>And he wants to live so bad, he's fighting it all the way, <v Doreen Sharpton>and uh that's why he wants to walk, he's determined to walk, even though he's so weak he
<v Doreen Sharpton>can't, but he'll do it to the very end. <v Doreen Sharpton>Now these pills are very important to him, he has take these <v Doreen Sharpton>every single night. <v Ken Verdoia>Doreen and David Sharpton are two broken arms trying to lift the weight of the world. <v Ken Verdoia>By holding on to each other, they give the appearance of holding on to life. <v Doreen Sharpton>Sometimes I have a good you know, we laugh about, say, oh David, I can't lift your legs, <v Doreen Sharpton>you know. And that's what we're going to do, David. <v Doreen Sharpton>We're a pair together, David. <v Doreen Sharpton>You know, that's what I tell him. I say you're weak, I'm weak. <v Doreen Sharpton>You can't get up, I can't get up. So we'll pair together. <v Doreen Sharpton>And we kind of laugh about that. <v David Sharpton>?inaudible?. <v David Sharpton>I mean, she can't be around I think for ?me?. <v David Sharpton>But we do manage, it's a better relationship for <v David Sharpton>her than I've ever had with her.
<v Doreen Sharpton>I just go on for David, for David's sake, you know, because I love him so <v Doreen Sharpton>much, and uh I want to keep him around as long as I can. <v Doreen Sharpton>And to see my son, you know, each day <v Doreen Sharpton>going through the pain and the suffering, they have to go through you know, I can't <v Doreen Sharpton>stand seeing that because I'm a mother, and I love him. <v Doreen Sharpton>Any mother that doesn't have any feelings and can't love a son, when they're-they're ill <v Doreen Sharpton>like that, is not much of a mother as far as I'm concerned, and any mother that turns <v Doreen Sharpton>away a children like that. <v Doreen Sharpton>Well I mean, that's what a mother is for you know. <v Doreen Sharpton>[Indistinct conversations] <v Ken Verdoia>The home is a gathering place for family and friends who help Doreen and David make <v Ken Verdoia>it through the days. Doreen has been direct in letting her neighbors and acquaintances <v Ken Verdoia>know about David's homecoming. <v Ken Verdoia>A moment of truth came when she stood before a gathering of fellow English emigres.
<v Doreen Sharpton>I can tell them what, and he's had it for seven years and I got up and <v Doreen Sharpton>made a speech, I said I have some news to tell. <v Doreen Sharpton>And it's not good news. I said my other son, David, that's terminally ill <v Doreen Sharpton>and he has AIDS. <v Doreen Sharpton>I say don't care what any of you think in here, I don't care what difference it makes in <v Doreen Sharpton>anyone. I said, that is my boy, he's my son and I love him, <v Doreen Sharpton>and I'll stick by him till the very end. <v Doreen Sharpton>And by the time I got through with my speech, everyone was crying. <v Doreen Sharpton>Neil came up, Neil was hugging me. <v Ken Verdoia>But at times, the reaction has been cool to David's return to his old neighborhood. <v Ken Verdoia>Fred and Emily Storing are retired and live across the street from Doreen and David. <v Ken Verdoia>[Indistinct conversation] In the spring, they watched David fall while trying to move a <v Ken Verdoia>trashcan to the curb for pickup. <v Ken Verdoia>Car after car drove around David, younger and healthier <v Ken Verdoia>neighbors watched from their homes as he lay in the street.
<v Ken Verdoia>Fred and Emily Storing managed to lift David to his feet and then carry him inside. <v Emily Storing>Cause I know that Man upstairs and I could have worse, and I hope somebody would come <v Emily Storing>to my aid. <v Emily Storing>I'm not 15. <v Emily Storing>One of these days, somebody may need to pick me out of the street, I hope they do. <v Emily Storing>He said, ?running over me? <v Emily Storing>[Man says, "Was about the size of it."] <v Ken Verdoia>While the Storings had no fear of David, another longtime neighbor did, <v Ken Verdoia>and a relationship was shunned over the fear of AIDS in this Texas neighborhood. <v Doreen Sharpton>I don't know why she turned that. She would say, tell someone that three <v Doreen Sharpton>doctors told her that if she came near David and shook his hand she <v Doreen Sharpton>would get AIDS. And I said there's no way she could get <v Doreen Sharpton>AIDS from that, but um she's never looked at me and never spoke <v Doreen Sharpton>to me since that day, you know, and David absolutley used to adore that <v Doreen Sharpton>lady, you know.
<v Interviewer>And you've known her for how long? <v Doreen Sharpton>About 17 years. <v Interviewer>And you don't even talk anymore. <v Doreen Sharpton>And she doesn't even talk to us anymore. <v David Sharpton>Everyone has to worry about this disease, or <v David Sharpton>they're going to find they're going to be in real trouble. <v David Sharpton>And um they ?inaudible? <v David Sharpton>have a member of family, who has AIDS. <v Ken Verdoia>During the summer of 1992, word of David's failing health trickled back to <v Ken Verdoia>Utah, his friends and former colleagues steeled themselves <v Ken Verdoia>for imminent news of another AIDS death. <v Ken Verdoia>The work of AIDS education was carried on, but for many there was a sense <v Ken Verdoia>that the momentum had been lost. <v Donald Steward>I think we're probably in a worse situation now <v Donald Steward>than we were in the beginning because that enthusiasm and the novelty
<v Donald Steward>has worn off, and there's a complacency that has crept right across <v Donald Steward>from the gay community to the health care policy makers <v Donald Steward>right across the board. There's just this complacency, and apathy, and burnout; <v Donald Steward>I mean, burnout is a real issue now, we're over 10 years into this <v Donald Steward>illness and it hasn't been fixed yet and we're seeing <v Donald Steward>more and more people die. Utah was spared a lot of those early ravages because it <v Donald Steward>took a while. We were a secondary site, we saw it hit the coasts and we thought, <v Donald Steward>God this is awful. We knew it would hit Utah eventually. <v Donald Steward>But I think the society here doesn't want to hear about it. <v Donald Steward>We've delegate-well relegated AIDS to <v Donald Steward>like 15 second soundbites on TV. <v Donald Steward>We cover the fundraisers. We done cover the issues. <v Louise Eutropius>I think we stand sort of at a crossroads. <v Louise Eutropius>You know, I think we have the opportunity to make some changes.
<v Louise Eutropius>But whether there are enough people to stand together <v Louise Eutropius>and fight to make those changes, I really don't know. <v Louise Eutropius>I think a lot of people are getting tired, um it's frustrating <v Louise Eutropius>you know, when we started our clinic in '89, we had 12 patients, we're up to 250 patients <v Louise Eutropius>now. We're seeing an-we continue to see an increasing number of new patients. <v Louise Eutropius>It makes me wonder, you know, are we really being effective? <v Louise Eutropius>I mean, we talked about all this education that's being done and <v Louise Eutropius>we're seeing more women being infected, more adolescents being infected. <v Louise Eutropius>You know, how effective is our education? <v Kristen Ries>I think we see a backslide. <v Kristen Ries>I think there's still a lot of progress being made scientifically and medically, <v Kristen Ries>but I think we have a huge backsliding in people's attitude towards HIV. <v Kristen Ries>People that you think should know a lot about it because it's all been on the media just <v Kristen Ries>don't know it, and I think the American public is tired of hearing about it.
<v Carolyn Spriggs>Well, I think the person who has AIDS is tired of hearing about it, too. <v Carolyn Spriggs>Tyler came to me not even a week ago and said, Mom, when is my AIDS going to go away? <v Carolyn Spriggs>And it broke my heart because I think that AIDS in Utah is not or in <v Carolyn Spriggs>the nation or in the world is not going away because of our lack of interest. <v Carolyn Spriggs>"Oh, I'm not at risk. <v Carolyn Spriggs>So why should I worry about it?" But the truth of matter is, if you take a poll now, I <v Carolyn Spriggs>think that every person you talk to, I would say probably 50 <v Carolyn Spriggs>percent of them would know somebody or know somebody of somebody who has AIDS. <v Lee Weaver>I believe that for a while everything was exciting. <v Lee Weaver>You know, we'll-we'll stand behind it, and then suddenly either <v Lee Weaver>the voices were stilled or the sensitivity was dulled, and <v Lee Weaver>there aren't enough voices for AIDS. <v Lee Weaver>There's too much still, "it's not my issue.", It will be everybody's <v Lee Weaver>issue. It isn't going to go away just because people want it to go away.
<v Lee Weaver>I believe that the time will come when everybody knows someone who's dying of AIDS. <v Norma Hird>The majority of the public considers AIDS a plague. <v Norma Hird>They treat people that have AIDS as if they have a plague, they have no <v Norma Hird>compassion for them. There are some that do, but the majority of them don't, <v Norma Hird>and until there is a cure found, so great <v Norma Hird>people like David don't have to die, I don't think we <v Norma Hird>succeeded. <v Ken Verdoia>It's late June in Lancaster, Texas, and David is clearly moved to the final days <v Ken Verdoia>of his life. He's just fallen again. <v Ken Verdoia>Neuropathy laying greater claim on his mobility. <v Doreen Sharpton>I noticed he was having a hard time walking and I said, David, you ought to be careful, <v Doreen Sharpton>just take your time and stop you know, every so often and rest, ?take? <v Doreen Sharpton>it in. But when he got to the door, I was putting the bed down for him so <v Doreen Sharpton>he could get onto the bed. <v Doreen Sharpton>And all of a sudden I noticed he put that foot forward,
<v Doreen Sharpton>and it tripped him, and he went right over the walker, and he hit his head right on the <v Doreen Sharpton>bed, broke his glasses, cuts his-rest of his nose, <v Doreen Sharpton>and cuts his eye. <v Ken Verdoia>In rushing to help her son, Doreen violates a cardinal principle in caring for <v Ken Verdoia>people with AIDS. She has direct barehanded contact with David's <v Ken Verdoia>blood. <v Doreen Sharpton>Blood everywhere. So what I did right away, I got a wet wash rag and started to <v Doreen Sharpton>wipe the blood off you see. No, I don't think about myself and only supposed to wear <v Doreen Sharpton>gloves, you supposed to do this when you around blood, but I didn't give that a thought, <v Doreen Sharpton>then my main concern was David. <v Ken Verdoia>Eventually, Doreen dons rubber gloves, but the incident is a powerful <v Ken Verdoia>reminder that medical hope is now gone. <v Ken Verdoia>Quietly, the family begins to talk of miracles and they also <v Ken Verdoia>talk about the end. <v Doreen Sharpton>Right now for David, I would hope for a miracle, I don't fear-some
<v Doreen Sharpton>miracle to come along and wipe this disease out and wipe <v Doreen Sharpton>it out of just everybody. <v Doreen Sharpton>For David and for everybody, nobody deserves this. <v Doreen Sharpton>Nobody deserves to have AIDS and deserves to suffer and that this <v Doreen Sharpton>disease, nobody. <v Doreen Sharpton>And then I think about my David, I think about you know-growing <v Doreen Sharpton>up, never think more ?inaudible? Because like I said, he was never any trouble, and <v Doreen Sharpton>I think about him dying, and that's when I. <v Doreen Sharpton>You know, that's when I sob because I don't want to lose him. <v Doreen Sharpton>I want-I want to keep him around forever. <v Doreen Sharpton>You know, I never thought that I'd lose any children before me. <v Doreen Sharpton>That's what I thought David would outlive me but um <v Doreen Sharpton>God altered the plans I imagined. <v Doreen and Woman>Where's his toothbrush? It's over there. It's in that red jar ?red thing? <v Doreen and Woman>You can't you know mix that up.
<v Ken Verdoia>David can no longer dress and care for himself. <v Ken Verdoia>His close cousin Deedee is with him for long stretches. <v Ken Verdoia>Deedee maintains an optimistic air for David, but <v Ken Verdoia>confides her fear of David's death, and he's clearly shaken when conversation <v Ken Verdoia>turns in that direction. <v Ken Verdoia>Doreen has talked to David's doctor and tough decisions are being made. <v Doreen Sharpton>I do not want to see David suffer, linger on and suffer. <v Doreen Sharpton>The doctors even told us in that aspect and they said, when the <v Doreen Sharpton>time comes, you don't want to put him on any machines or anything you just want him to, <v Doreen Sharpton>and I said, yeah, I just want him to go, because I don't want to see him suffer. <v Doreen Sharpton>It's too you know, it's too far, break my heart to see him suffering like that. <v Doreen Sharpton>It broke my heart to see my husband suffer like that. <v Ken Verdoia>For his part, David's thoughts turn to Utah and to the cure that has eluded <v Ken Verdoia>him in his seven year fight against AIDS. <v David Sharpton>I just mess around, I love the beauty of
<v David Sharpton>them, and they're-they're just glorious. <v David Sharpton>And I look up at a mountain and ask I said, well, if God can put a <v David Sharpton>mountain like that on this Earth, he could take <v David Sharpton>and make a cure. <v David Sharpton>That's what this is. <v Interviewer>Do you still hold out hope that man <v Interviewer>can find a cure? <v David Sharpton>Well, they're getting closer to it, and I don't see how they <v David Sharpton>can't, they're getting very close to finding it. <v Interviewer>So there may be a cure out there for David? <v David Sharpton>I hope so. <v Interviewer>Is it a function now of talking with the doctor about time?
<v Interviewer>And what does he tell you? And what do you believe? <v David Sharpton>Well, I don't think I'm going to be dead in a year, <v David Sharpton>I'd say two years. <v Doreen Sharpton>David says two years. <v Doreen Sharpton>But David, once, you know, wants to think he's got two years. <v Doreen Sharpton>But the doctor said you could go at any time. <v Doreen Sharpton>And if he does get pneumonia, they're not going to put him <v Doreen Sharpton>on any kind of machine to keep him alive because it wouldn't-it wouldn't be merciful <v Doreen Sharpton>to do that. They said that the best thing that if David did get any bad infections <v Doreen Sharpton>to just to let him go, that would be the merciful thing to do. <v Doreen Sharpton>So what we have to watch out for now is any kind of really bad infections. <v Doreen Sharpton>And, you know, in your setting and stuff like that, but I can see <v Doreen Sharpton>that David is going down more each time, you know? <v Ken Verdoia>Not far from Lancaster is a cemetery.
<v Ken Verdoia>On a slight hill, it overlooks Dallas, where David's battle with AIDS started seven years <v Ken Verdoia>ago. It also overlooks Lancaster, where David's battle is <v Ken Verdoia>now ending. In the heart of the cemetery are the graves of David's young <v Ken Verdoia>brother and father, and the mother faces laying another child <v Ken Verdoia>to rest. <v Doreen Sharpton>I asked them if they could open my little boy son Duane's grave, you know, <v Doreen Sharpton>my little boy that I lost at 10 years of age, and have David put <v Doreen Sharpton>in there with his brother and they said, yes, it can be done. <v Doreen Sharpton>And I said, that's what I want. <v Doreen Sharpton>I want that done. So he can be with his little brother and his father up there. <v Doreen Sharpton>I don't care how much it cost, I'll pay for it by the month, I can do that later. <v Doreen Sharpton>They said you can do that. Then I can go visit all of them, you know, <v Doreen Sharpton>and put flowers on them. <v Doreen Sharpton>And remember those special occasions which, yes, I do for my little boy and I do for my <v Doreen Sharpton>husband. I've done it ever since he died, I've never forgotten. <v Doreen Sharpton>I go up all the time, if I have to crawl up, I go me and my sister go.
<v Doreen Sharpton>It's hard for me to bend so that she-she puts the flowers on the grave and does all that <v Doreen Sharpton>stuff for me, you know. <v Nurse>I mean, he's doing good. I mean he's taking it easy. [Indistinct conversation]. <v Doreen Sharpton>I think people will remember him for the good fight he put up in Utah <v Doreen Sharpton>and the good fight he put up in ?inaudible? <v Doreen Sharpton>Get across to people you know about this disease and it's not just <v Doreen Sharpton>a homosexual disease, it can happen to anyone, any family, any time. <v Doreen Sharpton>And I just wanted to remember that and to remember David <v Doreen Sharpton>as a good person, as a good, kind, loving person <v Doreen Sharpton>that fought for what he thought was right, and he go to cross <v Doreen Sharpton>too, you know. And that's why I volunteered ?inaudible?. <v Doreen Sharpton>[Indistinct conversations]
<v Doreen Sharpton>And it's hard, because it's just a mother's love, you know. <v Doreen Sharpton>I guess when you carry that baby for nine months inside you, it's that special bond you <v Doreen Sharpton>know, when you go to that labor and there's that special, you know, bond. <v Doreen Sharpton>And that's part of you, you know. <v Doreen Sharpton>And that's what I think and uh when that certain <v Doreen Sharpton>part goes or when that certain person dies, that's part of you gone <v Doreen Sharpton>too. <v Doreen Sharpton>Don't get up yourself now. <v Doreen Sharpton>I'll be up before you, good night, darling. <v Doreen Sharpton>God bless, I love you. <v David Sharpton>The message I would give would be that all of us can be pioneers <v David Sharpton>in the battle against AIDS, that we can all learn
Remembering David
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
PBS Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)
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"'Remembering David' represents a unique journalistic approach to documenting the presence of AIDS in a community. Recorded over a 42-month period, the program documents one man's personal, often painful, struggle against the disease. But David Sharpton's life offers far more than an introspective examination of a terminal illness. Sharpton was a frontline activist in mobilizing government, communities, and individuals to respond to the AIDS crisis. He undertook his work in a 'low prevalence' state, and demonstrated the absence of geographic immunity for the nation's heartland. "The program provides an unprecedented look at the progression of AIDS, at the confusion and complex challenges faced by a person with AIDS, and at the critical roles of family support and personal determination that can shape the final years, months and days of a person fighting for their life against AIDS. "Without fanfare or advanced production techniques, 'Remembering David' seeks to quietly tell an individual's story that has much in common with 150,000 other Americans who have died from AIDS. "The program represents a unique commitment by a television station to stay with a challenging story in an effort to provide the in-depth perspective that is largely absent from broadcast coverage of AIDS."-- 1992 Peabody Awards entry form.
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Duration: 00:56:50:00
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Chicago: “Remembering David,” 1992-09-30, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “Remembering David.” 1992-09-30. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: Remembering David. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, PBS Utah, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from