BUFFALO, NY - Imagine being told that someone you love has been living with AIDS for a couple of years. It is the message one man plans to deliver to his family on Christmas Day. The reason - he no longer wants to hide the truth.
The stories of residents at the Benedict House in Buffalo will make you cry and smile.
Residents that spoke with 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing on Christmas Day say they are survivors because of the residential home that caters to people living with AIDS and HIV.
"There's still hope," said Radames Bay. He's been a resident a little over two years. "We share each others hopes and dreams and we lift each other up when we're down.
Brenda Jones is spending Christmas at Benedict. It is bittersweet because it is her first Christmas since the death of her mother. However, her outlook on life is positive. "This (having HIV or AIDS) is not a death sentence like it used to be. There is life and it's worth living today."
The Benedict House can care for more than 30-residents. Currently there are 22. Funding has always been a concern, but Executive Director Diane Bennett says funding from HUD has not been steady.
"We've had some problems with the HUD funding. It has been absent for the last 9 or 10 months, that's been very problematic. We thought we would be out of business in September." Just before Christmas, Benedict House was $6,000 short in payroll.
Private donations have been key to keeping the house open.