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Full of Life

The comprehensive care and treatment offered by this powerful AIDS Relief partnership is lifting people up from their deathbeds. Five years ago, Betty Acellam, who moved to Gulu in late 1988 because of the war, couldn't even stand up to get to a clinic. With help from Comboni Samaritans of Gulu and St. Mary's Lacor Hospital, she is now full of life, filling every room she walks into with her bright smile and glowing presence.

"Comboni Samaritans volunteers were taking care of me," Betty says, remembering how sick she was before she began antiretroviral therapy. "They would pay my bills and give me some help like sugar and food. They took me to the hospital when I was bedridden." Much of the money for this help came straight out of volunteers' pockets when needs exceeded the assistance programs could offer.

Alice Bongomin is another of the thousands given a new lease on life by AIDSRelief programs in Uganda—a lease that was unfortunately unavailable to her husband, who died of AIDS a decade earlier. Alice was lucky enough to be one of the hundred people chosen by the government in 2004 to receive drugs at a local hospital. But she was later told she would have to pay $25 a month for the medications. She couldn't afford the cost on the small income she was earning as a local trader.
Comboni Samaritans of Gulu stepped in, helping Alice buy the antiretroviral medications for two months until St. Mary's Lacor Hospital began dispensing the drugs for free through AIDSRelief. Today, Alice is so healthy and grateful that she works up to six days a week as a Comboni Samaritans volunteer, helping others access the same medications that saved her life.