Hey there y’all! I would love to introduce myself to you. My name is Daniel Szymczyk, and I am the founder and CEO of The HIV League. I wanted to create The HIV League to empower the HIV Community through scholarship, wellness, and education. But what does that really mean and why is that important?
Let me take you back a little bit. I’ve been living in NYC for almost two years now, but before moving up here, I lived in North Carolina my whole life (see the y’all comment above). Going from a 50-person mountain town to the middle of Charlotte, I ended up in Boone, North Carolina for college. Everything was going as smooth as college life could go until I entered my final year. In my senior year, my HIV status changed from Negative to Positive.
Dealing with this life-changing event was quite concerning and stressful to say the least, but I learned how to live a healthy life and be comfortable with my status. Fast-forward to a few months ago, when I was an Executive Assistant in the Flatiron District of NYC, I knew I wanted to take my professional career in the direction of HIV-related work.
But where is there a need? What is missing in this field?
It took many lunch breaks in Madison Square Park, reflecting back to when I was a student living with HIV, until it finally hit me. I immediately searched “National scholarships for HIV-Positive students” on my phone. Nothing came up. I found the need.
As I was developing The HIV League from scratch, I envisioned our organization to facilitate these scholarships, but I also wanted The HIV League to demonstrate how people living with HIV are able to live well and lead a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, our events and fundraisers (like our SoulCycle Charity Ride that’s coming up) will focus on wellness.
Finally, we found a need in the general public hearing personal stories from the HIV Community, whether it’s from someone who’s living with HIV and living a healthy lifestyle, or someone who is HIV-Negative and acts as a support system for those living with HIV. The HIV League’s Stories are videos we produce that tell the stories of these types of individuals. You can see our first Story below.
Thus, The HIV League was born! We hope you continue to follow us at www.hivleague.org, our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and through our blog here hosted by the amazing people at POZ. We cannot wait for you to be a part of the League!