Commemorating World AIDS Day Archives - StoryCorps
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These Memories Shaped His Journey Into Hospice Work

Having built a career in hospice care, Hajime Issan Koyama, known simply as Issan, has many experiences with death, and with bringing comfort to people in their final moments. 

He made his way into a  caregiving role after he found himself at the epicenter of the 1980s AIDS epidemic in New York City, where he witnessed many of his friends and colleagues die. 

But the experiences that laid the foundation for his concept of death and dying go back to his childhood growing up in Japan, and his favorite grandmother.

He came to StoryCorps July of 2015 with his husband, Paul Boos, to share those memories. 

Paul Boos and Hajime Issan Koyama at their StoryCorps interview in New York City on July 17, 2015. By Mitra Bonshahi for StoryCorps.
Top Photo: Hajime Issan Koyama at his StoryCorps interview in New York City on July 17, 2015. By Mitra Bonshahi for StoryCorps.

Originally aired May 13, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

My Aunties

 Lessons in love during an epidemic. 

Stefan Lynch and Beth Teper

Stefan Lynch was raised by gay parents in the early eighties. He was cared for and loved by a group of adults, largely gay men, who he called his “aunties.” Stefan remembers the succession of AIDS-related illnesses in his family, including the death of his father in ‘91.  Even in the face of terrible sickness and loss, his aunties showed him how to survive and care for one another.

This all-new animated short is presented as part of the new StoryCorps animation season, Father Figures, where father figures and their children share the strength and wisdom that they draw from each other.

Listen to Stefan and Beth’s original StoryCorps interview.

Para subtítulos en español, haga click en el ícono de YouTube en la esquina derecha, y escoja “Spanish” bajo la opción de “settings” y “subtitles/CC.

Christopher Harris

StoryCorps Legacy gives people with serious illnesses the chance to share their stories.

At Grady Hospital in Atlanta, Christopher Harris recorded his memories from the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

In the early 80s, his marriage fell apart after he came out as gay. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. At the time, there was only one drug approved to treat the disease, and a diagnosis often meant a death sentence.

With StoryCorps, Harris remembered how he came to work with the Atlanta Buyers Club, which distributed medications from the black market to people with HIV before the drugs had been approved by the FDA.

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Originally aired December 1, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Bottom photo: Christopher Harris holds his infant daughter. Courtesy of Christopher Harris.

Reverend Eric Williams and Jannette Berkley-Patton

In 1991, Reverend Eric Williams was a new pastor at the Calvary Temple Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri.

At StoryCorps, he told his colleague, Jannette Berkley-Patton about his first experience dealing with AIDS in his ministry.

Originally aired November 30, 2012 on NPR’s Morning Edition.