In late 1984, Patricia and Loren Broadbent chose to adopt a baby girl named Hydeia, whom they had taken in as a foster child. Hydeia had been abandoned in the hospital at birth by a mother addicted to drugs, and Patricia and Loren were sure they could give her a better chance at life and provide her with the love, support, protection, and guidance that all children need and deserve. In the spring of 1988, however, when Hydeia was just a few months short of four, the Broadbents’ hopes for their child were put to the test when they learned that Hydeia had been infected with HIV at birth. Doctors predicted she wouldn’t live past her fifth birthday.
More than twelve years later, Hydeia is not only still here, but she is also an internationally recognized AIDS activist and, even more remarkably, a typical teenager. She is among the first generation of children with AIDS for whom science has changed the odds—the first generation for which adulthood is a possibility and not just a dream.
Writes Patricia Broadbent: “It would be easy to tell our story in clichés about miracles and hope, tragedy and the ‘innocent’ victims of the epidemic. I know, too, how easy it is to view Hydeia, myself, and our family as somehow ‘special.’ The truth is, however, we are a family just like any other. I am no stronger or braver than any other mother who loves her child.”
You Get Past the Tears is the story of a disease for which there is still no cure. But this is also the story of a family living with AIDS, a mother who did everything in her power to defy that first hopeless prognosis, and a young woman who continues to inspire millions with her courage and determination.
“I want to show everyone that the struggle is worth it, that life is for living,” writes Hydeia. “AIDS can change a lot of things about your life, but it can’t change the person you are inside. You deserve happiness, love, and respect. Don’t ever forget that, and don’t let anyone try to tell you different. This is still your world, too.”
About Patricia Broadbent
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Published April 9, 2002
Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting.