by Ken Gullette
Go on a journey with me. If you will spend a few minutes each week checking in with this blog, you will see a story unfold unlike any you have ever seen. It might change your life as it did mine. You will see the story played out in real time, as it did 20 years ago, from April, 1995 until April, 1996.
Two decades ago, Robb Dussliere put himself in front of the world in the most personal way possible. He and the late Beth Wehrman, executive director at the time of the AIDS Project Quad Cities, asked me to meet with them at the AIDS Project offices to talk about an idea for a TV news series. I was the news director of WHBF-TV, the CBS affiliate in Rock Island.
I had no idea they were going to ask me to record Robb’s death.
During the next year, I followed Robb almost weekly with a camcorder, recording events in his life as he struggled to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and the despair and homelessness suffered by people who find themselves diagnosed and then shunned by family and friends.
Robb was young, funny, intelligent, and the bravest man I have ever known. Through the medium of local TV news, our stories transformed hearts, generated tremendous interest and compassion, and 20 years later, Robb is still having an impact.
This blog is a labor of love, a tribute to my friend and his wonderful family, an effort to let the echo of Robb’s voice be heard through the decades, to raise awareness of the continued needs of HIV/AIDS patients in our community, and to raise funds for the cause that Robb worked so hard to launch — the DeLaCerda House, which still provides housing and support to people who find themselves struggling to survive.
Robb’s Life ended, but a lot of work remains to be done. The good news is that you can help carry on his legacy. You will see Donate Links throughout the stories and the site. Even if you can only afford five dollars, please give directly to the DeLaCerda House through these secure links.
The first story that we did introduced Robb to the Quad Cities (Iowa/Illinois). During the coming year, you can watch Robb’s story unfold as it did 20 years ago.
Please subscribe to this blog and go on a journey with me as we relive the pleasure, the laughter and the tears of Robb’s Life.
Robb’s Life Chapter 1 — Meeting Robb Dussliere — April 20, 1995
Please Honor Robb’s Life — Donate to DeLaCerda House by Visiting their Page and Clicking the Donate Link on the right side of their home page. This link will take you there.