We, the founders
of this site, like you, have clicked our way through the 'Net' to
seek information about Hepatitis C. In our case, it was because
we were diagnosed with it and felt we needed answers to questions
that our doctors were not providing. What we learned later, however,
is that many people infected with Hep C, an incurable disease, are
frightened, losing hope, feeling isolated, and are having to make
changes in their lives that are very tough for even a healthy person
to cope with.
Our aim is to
provide the latest in medical information, and safe forums to test
and debate the merits of different ideas on dealing with this disease.
What we feel sets us apart though is we are interested in the unfinished
business at hand once a person has become well educated on the facts
of their illness. We're not here just to provide data. We're here
to help each other improve our lives and be happier in the process.
We can learn much from each other and this support can be crucial.
We cannot save you from what ails you, but if we can somehow help
you to smile again, we're fulfilling our intended purpose.
One of the
toughest aspects to deal with is the stigma that is presently associated
with being a "hepper". When a person is diagnosed with an incurable
disease, there is a series of emotions that inevitably follows.
Nearly all of us go through these exact same emotions and generally
believe that we are alone in feeling this way. We have discovered
that when people with Hep C get together, be it in a chat room online
or in real life, there is a feeling of acceptance that we can't
find anywhere else. We are able to laugh, cry and share our deepest
feelings without fear. There are none of the "labels" we find slapped
on us in real life. The word "cirrhosis" is perceived by the general
public to be associated with alcoholism. Hepatitis is generally
perceived as a disease of "junkies" or people who are somehow unclean.
We want to help to correct these misconceptions and find support,
acceptance, and most of all funding for research for a cure.
There is an
appalling lack of information about our disease, even in the field
of medical professionals. There are countless sites and organizations
attempting to educate the general public about our disease, but
most of their efforts are falling on deaf ears. Not only are we
being "shunned" by those who fear that they may somehow contract
this disease from us, but the lack of education leaves hundreds
of thousands of people vulnerable to infection. Our solution is
to try to take away the stigma by creating an image that people
can look at and smile, not fear.
In some of
our pages you will notice various hippopotamus figures. We call
them "heppos", an idea one of our founders had when he resented
the word "hepper" for someone infected with Hep C. It was
noted that the word "hepper" was uncomfortably close to the
word "leper", which indicates a disease that is so highly
contagious and feared that people were shunned and banished to islands.
What started as a fun joke, and a varied signature avatar, has now
increased in scope. We envision people in heppo costumes
carrying our message to schools and children. Cuddly stuffed heppos
could be sold to promote awareness in a positive way and to raise
funds for research. We imagine a massive Hep-C awareness campaign
where heppos become a mascot. We imagine McDonalds and other
such organizations including heppos in their fun meals along
with informative leaflets on how children can avoid ever becoming
We have all
sorts of wild ideas on promoting Hep C awareness, but we, like many,
have no personal wealth with which to implement them. We hope this
site, and our future efforts bear fruit in this regard.
We intend to
compete with the large commercial sites that promise much but deliver
nothing. We seek to attract their advertisers so they start spending
their money with US, the people who bear this disease, because people
are clicking on our sites more than they are on theirs. Our aim
is not to fatten our quarterly reports and pay dividends to some
Wall Street stockholders, rather our intention is to put this money
into programs that will assist the people who live with this disease.
We want to provide jobs for the chronically ill, get people some
health benefits that otherwise would be unavailable to them, and
create a care network that gets us together where we can meet each
other, get to know one another, and build brother and sisterhood
We plan to
continue to provide what we have found to be indispensable in our
previous sites, a place for friends with Hep C to meet and socialize,
to laugh and cry together and to join forces in our fight for recognition.
A safe place where a newly diagnosed person who is frightened will
receive comfort and strength from those of us who have been where
they are now. Heppos helping Heppos is what this site is all about.
We're glad you're here to browse our pages and get to know
us. This site is not about its founders. It's about YOU and FOR
Jerry aka aBigSAM
~Viv~ aka Lyric