On World AIDS Day we celebrate community organizations supporting the health and well-being of people living with HIV. Amy's story comes from the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation in Vancouver, BC.
There’s a bass line that ran through Amy’s early life and it went like this: no one is there for me when I need them most.
Like a riff, it played over and over again in her mind, just like a track of music running through her mind.
That riff changed when Amy began coming to the Dr. Peter Centre more than 10 years ago. She soon found her way to the music therapy room where she learned to play piano, then the electric bass, then put pen to paper and began writing her own songs.
With encouragement and help from her therapist Andrea, Amy laid down and recorded a variety of tracks – enough to make two CDs.
“It took ages, but it was worth it," says Amy, now 42. "I never could have done that without this place."
When Amy wrote her favourite song Connections, it was about the bond between her and her six-year-old daughter. But it could be equally true of the bond that has been built between Amy and her electric bass, and even more so, her bond with Andrea.
“I’ve had some pretty big life moments, and through being here, I’ve been able to build a bond with another person,” she says, tears welling as she nods towards Andrea. “I’ve never had that before, and it’s because the music is here. There have been huge moments, and if I need it, I can be here. In my life, there was no one there for me until now.” Picking up the bass, while Andrea plays lead, the two strum their way through John Lennon’s Imagine.
“Being here has allowed me to grow," she says. "I'm stronger than I was way back when."