Statement by National AIDS Memorial CEO John Cunningham on the passing of Val Bias
"The National AIDS Memorial family mourns the loss of Val Bias, a true leader and tireless advocate for the national and international hemophilia community. Occasionally, there are people who enter our lives who are transformative in spirit, heart and action. Val was one of those people. He made a powerful and impactful difference to countless lives. Val was not just a survivor of hemophilia, but also a long-term survivor of AIDS. His commitment in creating the Hemophilia Memorial Circle within the National AIDS Memorial Grove brought our two communities together to bring hope, healing, and remembrance, ensuring that the painful story of the hemophilia community and AIDS is forever known. Walking that journey with Val forever changed how we approach our work, our values and our partnerships. He has left us all with a lasting legacy, we honor him for his passion, commitment and love, and he will forever be an important part of the National AIDS Memorial's family and history. In Val’s honor, his family asked that we establish a Val Bias Memorial Fund at the National AIDS Memorial so that his legacy will inspire future generations to continue his important work for the inheritable blood disorders community in the United States and internationally."
We hope you will watch the video below featuring Val, filmed as part of the National AIDS Memorial Surviving Voices mini-documentary, The National Hemophilia Community & AIDS.
“The tragedy that struck this community is one that cannot be forgotten. It is our duty to find a way to provide a place for people to remember those who lost their lives, and this memorial does just that. We are honored to be able to partner with organizations that share this mission.” —Val Bias, former CEO, National Hemophilia Foundation
The National AIDS Memorial’s Hemophilia Circle is a beautiful stone crescent built into a hillside and features stunning flagstone and a bench for reflection. The Hemophilia Circle is engraved with over 200 names of members of the Hemophilia community who have been touched by AIDS and is landscaped with new trees, grasses and other plantings. Names engraved include members of the hemophilia community who lost their lives, in addition to their family members and friends. Names also include community leaders and activists to honor their tireless work to ensure that America’s blood supply became safe. Also engraved are names of nationwide hemophilia organizations.
Hemophilia is a genetic condition that prevents a person’s blood from clotting. In the 1980s, the hemophilia community’s lifeline was a medicine—clotting factor—derived from a large and diverse blood supply. It was only after people with hemophilia began to be diagnosed with HIV that they realized the blood supply was tainted. Eventually, 90% of people with severe hemophilia were infected with HIV from contaminated factor, and cries for help were met with silence from drug corporations and the federal government. People with the disease were left to fight on their own, and have served as the guardians of the nation’s blood supply ever since.
The National AIDS Memorial partnered with the National Hemophilia Foundation and the Hemophilia Federation of America to build the hemophilia memorial feature in 2017.
HOW To Engrave a Name in the Hemophilia Circle
Engravings will take place in advance of World AIDS Day, December 1, 2022.
To see the list of names engraved in the Hemophilia memorial, click here.