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Main Forums => In Memoriam => Topic started by: leatherman on April 12, 2016, 07:56:16 am

Title: Keith Blackmon
Post by: leatherman on April 12, 2016, 07:56:16 am
it's with a very heavy heart that I have to tell you that my friend, fellow HIV advocate and award-winning volunteer, Keith Blackmon has passed away. Keith Blackmon fought a hard battle these last few years; but after a ton of chemo, radiation and surgery, sadly he was unable to overcome the cancer that continued to grow.

Keith was an avid statewide HIV advocate with Catawba Care (now Affinity Health Center), the SC HIV Task Force and AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP Advocacy Association / aaa+). For many years, Keith not only worked numerous health fairs for Catawba Care; but was their go-to guy for patient transportation for over half a decade. Keith took advantage of every advocacy event of the Task Force to speak to SC legislators about the needs of people living with HIV and even went to Washington with aaa+ to testify to Congress members in committee about the need for more funding for ADAP (aids drugs assistance program).

Keith was an active member of the Task Force from 2010 until 2015, during the years SC had an ADAP waiting list. When SC was not going to fund ADAP, Keith spoke with many members of the SC Legislature, helping to change their minds to fund ADAP. Keith used his personal story, speaking to a Congressional committee, to help get the emergency funding that ended the ADAP waiting lists.

Sadly, Keith's story shows how badly SC needs Medicaid Expansion. Earning too much to get medicaid but not enough to purchase insurance, Keith struggled for many years to get adequate health care. Although he was finally able to purchase an ACA plan which helped during his final year of life, if SC had accepted Medicaid Expansion several years ago, Keith might have been diagnosed and treated sooner perhaps sparing his life.

Keith will definitely be missed (as he has been through this past year as he fought the cancer) and will always be remembered for untold hours of volunteer work he did in SC trying to improve the lives of people living with HIV.