I remember the first speech that I gave. It was 1996 and I was at the BC Ch ildren's Hospital Grand Rounds in Vancouver. Not only was I a new speaker, with all the fear involved in giving my very first speech - but I was talki ng on a topic that I had kept secret from many people for the last two year s. After my nine-month old daughter, Katie, became sick with pneumonia, I w as told she had AIDS and that I had HIV. I could vaguely hear the infectious disease specialist on stage speaking ab out the basic science of children with HIV. It was like a dream, everything seemed to be in slow motion, and then he turned to introduce me, the mothe r and patient. I remember singing to myself before I walked onto the platfo rm - it was a song by Queen "We Are The Champions" and it gave me strength to walk up the steps, covered in black, rubber matting. I shook the doctor' s hand and stood before my audience. It was precisely at that moment, as I stared into the crowd seated before me , that I saw someone hurriedly enter the auditorium... it was my daughter's pediatrician and immediately I froze. I hadn't seen Jane since Katie's death two years earlier - I heard myself breath in sharply and a pain stabbed at my heart. She sat half way down the aisle and, looking back at me, she gentl y smiled. I knew I had a great, trusted friend in the audience and suddenly a warm blanket enveloped me... I could do this! As I started to tell the story of how I had discovered my daughter had AIDS and that I had HIV, I struggled to remain composed. I was tired from two yea rs of telling lies about her death and finally I was going to be able to let people know what it was like living under the veil of stigma, where healthc are staff, doctors and hospice workers were my only confidantes. I felt it w as so important for the people listening to me realized that they are the li feline to people hiding with any stigma. Jane knew.. she had been a friend a t the end of the phone line, the arm around my shoulders, the doctor not afr aid to speak out on my behalf. As I read the words on the sheet, I was painfully aware that I was not yet a confident speaker and I knew that if I decided to go completely public then I would have to look directly into people's eyes, without fear of judgement. It was on that day that I realized that this would be the way I could remem ber Katie's life and that people could learn more about families living wit h AIDS. I knew on that day that my career path would take me down a road wh ere I had so long feared to travel and that I would receive immeasurable su pport along the way.