The Great Wigoff

OctoTea Season Kick-off event = Big Success!

On Sep. 12th, people started pouring into The John Girard Salon on W. 3rd.  What did so many folks have to do in a classy salon on a Sunday afternoon?   When the doors opened at 5pm, it signaled that the OctoTea Season could begin! Read more »

Kirby Fund helps the Homeless

(Guess post from ASA)

A client had been living on the streets for two full years, sleeping under trees and staying in Laundromats during severe weather. When this client decided he was ready to pursue housing, he was faced with several barriers including obtaining an ID and birth certificate as well as saving enough money to afford a housing deposit as well as a rent payment. Like many clients, he only received $674 in monthly SSI payments; however out of this limited income he paid $300 each month to the caretaker of his son. Although the case manager was able to locate affordable housing for this client at the rate of $320/month, with only $374 the possibility of this client affording move in costs were next to impossible. Thanks to the flexibility of the Paul Kirby funds, this client was able to receive assistance with obtaining an ID and birth certificate as well as a deposit and 1 month of rental assistance. This client has not only maintained safe and stable housing for more than 6 months, stability and routine that comes with having a home has allowed him to reduce his viral load from 225,000 to undetectable for the first time in 7 years of having an AIDS diagnosis.

When there was no Paul Kirby Fund

I don't know what it's like to be a person struggling to live with HIV/AIDS.  What I do know about, and recall painfully, is what it's like to be a person trying her best to offer support to someone with a new diagnosis of AIDS.

In 1985, a friend with a new diagnosis of AIDS came to live with me, because he had no other resources.  Unable to maintain his own place, and essentially unwanted by his family, he would have been on the street after barely surviving a serious bout of pneumocystis pneumonia.  Since he already had some significant neurological changes, he wasn't the easiest person to deal with, and most of his friends had taken a step back.

The first thing that happened was that his health insurance was cancelled.  They claimed that he must have had AIDS when he took out the policy, so it was a pre-existing condition.  So none of the hospital or doctors' bills were paid. It took months to convince the insurer that a diagnosis happens when it is made, and not retrospectively.  Eventually they paid. Read more »

VIVO + Octopus Club = Big Success!

On Dec 10th owners and staff of VIVO restaurants gave a benefit for the Octopus Club at their newest location, 12233 RR 602 North. The restaurant's opening was slated for the next day, but they generously opened one day early for a "sneak preview," supplying all the food and drinks. The crowd just kept pouring into the beautifully decorated rooms, enjoying the delicious appetizers and cocktails, and donated $2,463 to the The Paul Kirby Emergency Fund at AIDS Services of Austin. Many thanks to everyone connected with VIVO, including Paula Biehler, and to those guests who donated, knowing that because of your generosity, persons with AIDS who finds themselves in need during the holiday season, won't go without medication, food or housing. As always, 100% of the donations go to the Fund. Pictures of the event can be found in the VIVO Sneak Peak Album at the Octopus Club photo gallery.

2008 Octopus Club Totals

You have raised the bar AGAIN!

Thanks to your support, your hard work and your willingness to make a difference, the Octopus Club is pleased to report a very successful "fun-raising" year for 2008. Events held during 2008 allowed the Octopus Club to raise a record $160,585 for the AIDS Services of Austin Paul Kirby Fund. The Paul Kirby Fund provides assistance to our friends and neighbors living with the challenge of HIV. This includes the most basic living essentials such as rent, medication, food and utilities. Since the Octopus Club was founded by Lew Aldridge in 1989, your efforts have helped raise an amazing $1,227,970! Read more »

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