It is with a heavy heart that I attended the Celebration of Life for a giant in Canada’s HIV-AIDS activist community with the passing of friend Ron Rosenes.
Ron was a noted Canadian and international contributor to many issues in the LGBTQ+ community, with a specific focus on HIV advocacy, LGBTQ+ legal issues, community-focused impacts on healthcare delivery, international community building, issues facing people living with HIV, ageing, mentoring future generations, fundraising and philanthropy.
Motivated by his own diagnosis more than 30 years ago, he began volunteering with the AIDS Committee of Toronto. Since then, as a volunteer, spokesperson and fundraiser with numerous organizations, he has fought for improved treatment options and faster drug approval processes, and has helped reduce the stigma faced by people living with HIV/AIDS, both here at home and abroad. His passionate and resilient activism continues to shine a light on such issues as aging with HIV and the search for a cure. In 2014, he was honoured with the Order of Canada for his tireless work for the community.
I had the pleasure of working with Ron on several issues: Casey House Hospital, the Casey Awards, the LGBTQ+ Purge Fund, and the 2SLGBTQI Monument (to pay tribute to those in the community who suffered from the civil service purge of LGBTQ-identified individuals).
Ron will be dearly missed, but his memory and accomplishments will live on forever in many hearts in Canada and abroad..