Steve (Stephen Allan Ballantyne)

1958 - 2 November 1994
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From the stories folder that accompanies The Quilt to displays:

This Quilt was made in memory of my husband, Stephen, who died from an AIDS-related condition on 2nd November 1994.

Stephen was diagnosed three years earlier as being HIV positive. He had contracted this through intravenous drug use prior to his return to New Zealand.

Because of the stigma and shame associated with HIV, I agreed to keep this not only from his friends but also from our families. We both lived in fear of ever being found out and being shunned by society.

We continued as best we could for the next two years, but normal activities were becoming more difficult and tiring for Stephen to perform. His love of tennis was the first sacrifice. He was regarded as one of the best players at our club, where we met.

As the months progressed Stephen’s weight plummeted and he was unable to eat, every activity caused him great fatigue and he slept more frequently. By now we had told both our families and it was apparent Stephen was ill. Stephen and I married six weeks before he lapsed into a coma and died three days later.

To try to depict a person’s life on a 6 x 3-foot piece of material is a daunting task. Stephen’s sense of humour, love of life, and compassion for others can never be shown, but hopefully it is a dynamic way to open the eyes, hearts and minds of those who believe this will never happen to them.

Stephen touched the lives of so many and we will all be indebted and grateful forever.

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