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About us, hepcnet

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 infected.

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 among us.

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.

Welcome!  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 you.

Thank you...
Jerry aka aBigSAM
~Viv~ aka Lyric

 

    Page last updated: November 2, 2003


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