My cousin Christopher was 16 years old when he died. Christopher had been fighting the disease known as AIDS throughout his life, and I didn't know. I had always known when I was young that Christopher was sick in some way. His right hand was malformed and he had to receive a variety of injections each day from his mother. But as young as I was, I was never afraid of Chris or his sickness. Chris and I were friends as much as we were family. We would play spies together and hide on his steps as we watched our parents play cards.
To me, Chris was a normal child who just needed some extra medicine. But after his death, I learned that his condition was much more serious then it appeared to be. The day after Chris's death I asked my mom what Chris died from, and she told me that Chris had died from AIDS. I couldn't believe what she had told me. I never thought a disease like AIDS could hit so close to home. Chris had caught the disease form a blood transfusion that he received when he was born with cerebral palsy.
I wasn't at all worried when I learned of his disease; the only thing that truly bothered me was that my family didn't tell me until he was gone.They were afraid that my other cousins and I would be afr4aid of Chris and his disease. I don't think I would have been afraid of Chris, but we will never know for sure.After Chris' death, I learned more about his life. I learned that when it was time for my cousin to go to school, there was some debate between school officials and other parents surrounding the issue of other children going to school with my cousin Chris who had AIDS. After I learned this I was upset, but I decided that I wanted to do something about it. Three years after his death, my family and I walked in the AIDS walk of New York City to support AIDS awareness. I also helped girls in my school learn about the disease by having my Aunt Dorothy (Christop

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