At 6am this Sunday (April 2), Mark Anderson, also known as Sybil Barrington, will set out from St George’s Square, to boost funds in aid of Russ Ford, in a charity walk all the way to Dockyard.
As of 1pm today (Mar 30), the fund had reached $46,660 towards their $200,000 goal with 341 donations, and a top anonymous donation of $1,000.
Mr Ford, 64, suffered a “horrific fall” at his home in February, which resulted in a serious spinal injury.
Mr Anderson made the announcement last Sunday on the Shirley Dill talk show.
In a statement released yesterday, he wrote:
“Bermuda has been fortunate to have many brave people who have created social change and understanding and helped Bermuda’s society to grow in profound ways – Russ Ford is definitely one of those people.
“I was blessed to meet and work with Russ Ford in 1982, just as the world was being crippled by the Aids epidemic.
“We worked at the same hospital, which was then called St Brendan’s Hospital, which is now called MWI.
“Mr Ford watched as countless people were dying from this disease.
“Many people had been ostracised by some family members and some friends because they had contracted the virus.
“Some churches displayed a negative response to Aids victims.
“Russ Ford worked as a nurse and being a kind and compassionate human being, he put people first.
“He saw the fear and injustice happening in Bermuda, and set out to help people to understand the facts about the virus.
“He educated Bermudian society about love and care and soothed the growing fears and animosities had for those who were stricken.
“He began to be an avid voice and activist.
“His knowledgeable presence supported the gay and lesbian community by publicly speaking out in the midst of widespread backlash.
“As a result, Mr Ford was able to work with people who made it possible for the proper medication to be brought into Bermuda and a change in healthcare for this community.
“The death rate being so rapid, he saw the need for there to be a place where patients could go to receive love and respect and pass on with dignity. Out of this, he founded Agape House.
“Agape House, was Bermuda’s first hospice, specifically for those dying from Aids, and now 46 years later, it still functions as a respite for anyone who is in need.
“Not only did he see the urgency for this type of hospice, he recognised that there needed to be a support system for patients and their families. Russ founded Star, a counselling system open to anyone who wants help to understand their personal situations.
“His recent injury now requires all of Bermuda to step in and lift him up.
“He will need physical, financially, and moral support. Let us all give him the same support and love that he has given us.”
• Donations can be made at gofund.me/e62ceae0, to Butterfield Bank account No 06 007 631 900 19, or along the route of the walk