Since the first Sign of Hope campaign in 1984, our Agency has been able to fund some ministries that were initially deemed controversial, yet ground-breaking by many upon its introduction. Kairos House is one of those ministries.
Opened in 1987, Kairos House offers residential care and assistance to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, including (but not necessarily) palliative care. Though the ministry came with criticism in its initial years, Kairos House has since helped hundreds of residents, like Vanessa, who have struggled with their diagnosis.
At age 15, Vanessa left home and lived on the streets by herself after a falling out with her parents. She was exposed to illegal substances from a very young age, eventually experimenting with drugs herself. As her addiction became more prominent, she resorted to illegal means of sustaining her cravings. “I sold drugs to keep the habit,” Vanessa admitted.
For the next few years, Vanessa found herself in and out of jail, and watched friends be killed over drugs or die from an overdose. There were times she wanted to leave that lifestyle, but said she kept getting wrapped back into it. Fortunately, Vanessa eventually found the courage to step away from the lifestyle she was living and leave the streets. “I woke up one day and got fed up with it,” she recalled.
Although she was proud of herself for leaving the streets behind her, she had soon discovered a new truth from her physician during a routine checkup: She was diagnosed with HIV and pancreatic cancer. “I felt crushed,” she said of receiving the news.
Determined to still make a change, Vanessa sought help and support for her diagnosis at Kairos House. Through the encouragement and dedication of on-site staff, she remained drug-free and well-cared for in a safe environment, stating that she finally feels “at ease” with herself.
*Names have been changed to the protect the privacy of our client. The person in this photo is not depicted in this story.