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Happy 150th birthday British Columbia!

December 18, 2008
This year British Columbia celebrates it’s 150th birthday.  There have been many celebrations, and now as the year is drawing to a close the Vancouver Sun wants us to choose who we think were most influential throughout British Columbia’s history.  There are many names I don’t recognize (probably because I am a prairie transplant), and many that I do.  My brother sent me information on one person that I didn’t know about but sounds like he should be a definite candidate.

 

In 2005, the BC Almanac Book of Greatest British Columbians named Peter in the category of ‘Changing the World: Crusaders and Reformers’ noting those in the category had “….changed the way Canada and the world look at the challenging issues of our time.” Amongst many other accolades and awards, Peter also received the Queen’s Commemorative Medal and the Province of British Columbia Exceptional Award of Merit

Dr. Peter Jepson-Young (1957-1992) was a young, gay, Vancouver physician who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985. At that time, being gay or having HIV/AIDS was not talked about for fear of stigma and discrimination. In 1990, Peter took the gutsy step of going on CBC-TV with his weekly “Dr. Peter Diaries” to share with British Columbians, Canadians, and the world his personal journey living and dying with HIV/AIDS.  Affectionately known as ‘Dr. Peter’, he did more than educate about HIV/AIDS — he had a profound impact on social change by leading  British Columbians into the vanguard of acceptance and support of people who are gay and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Before his death, Peter established the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation to provide Comfort Care for people living with HIV/AIDS. He said he had been fortunate to have a lot of support, but he knew many others didn’t. The Foundation honours his mission by providing HIV/AIDS care at Vancouver ‘s Dr. Peter Centre; generously sharing its model of care with others around the world; and planning two new centres for the many people living with HIV/AIDS who still need care in Metro Vancouver.

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