HARTFORD -- A local woman is surviving, thriving and committed to helping others struggling with HIV and AIDS.
Alice Ferguson was given six months to live after she was diagnosed with full blown aids in 1989. It was devastating news, made even more difficult to bare when she found out she contracted it from her best friend -- her husband of ten years.
Now she's making a huge difference, despite her own painful journey.
"I'm not gonna let AIDS take from me, from my kids or anyone who's suffering and over time and with complications," she said. "I live through it at 25 and thought, you know what I'm gonna be okay."
Despite living with AIDS for decades, Alice is healthier now than she has been in a long time. In 1989 she was shocked to find out she had contracted aids when she tried to increase her life insurance.
"I got a certified letter from Aetna saying we will not increase your insurance and you should go see a doctor as soon as possible," she explained. "My doctor said you have AIDS and so glad you got in here now. Because from what I can see we're looking at about 6 months."
As a mother of two and married for ten years, she struggled with the disease and the fact she contracted it from her husband, who died six months later. Alice spent the next five years in hospice care fighting AIDS.
"Giving up hope would be giving up on my children," she said. And she didn't. Alice persevered.
"she's been through so many obstacles and so much pain and shes a great example of how you can hold it together for yourself, for your family and for your community," said Barbara Shaw from Hands on Hartford.
Hands On Hartford works closely with people living with HIV and AIDS and helped her with healthcare, housing and feeding her family. Now, she helps others at the non-profit.