A Leader Finds His PLASE

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Larry was born and raised in Baltimore but was shuffled off to foster care at a young age to escape an abusive home. In the early 1980s, he contracted HIV through a blood transfusion at a hospital but was able to manage his disease. Larry overcame his troubled youth and settled into a good career in management. Larry’s career was put to a halt when he badly hurt his leg during a home accident. During a week stay at the hospital, Larry contracted an infection which caused him to lose his left leg, finger, and the shin bones in his right leg. After this traumatic event and a 17 month stay in the hospital, Larry was left without his livelihood, his home, and $1 million in medical bills. Larry, wheelchair bound, journeyed from an emergency shelter to a space at PLASE’s transitional facility with the support of a case manager.

Once he felt safe and stable, things really turned around for Larry.

Despite all he had been through, Larry instantly started reaching out to PLASE staff, volunteers, and other clients. Through these relationships, he became a member of PLASE’s Client Advisory Board (CAB) where his leadership and interpersonal skills bloomed. From the CAB, Larry took off! He completed the Taylor-Wilks Group’s Leadership Empowerment and Advocacy Program (LEAP) with honors and became involved in other community advocacy organizations like Jacques Initiative, Hope Springs, and Journey.

Larry believes in the power of advocacy. He backs this belief by offering himself up as an example: “before all this [the things he has gone through], my world was me, and I would have never told anyone about [my troubles], but it all changed when I learned how important it is to speak out—that is how things change.” His goals include becoming a counselor for people living with HIV/AIDS, teaching Personal Self-Management, obtaining permanent housing, and focusing on his medical needs (prosthesis, teeth, etc.).