Tuesday, June 22, 1999

AIDS fighter to appear on 'Montel'

Cleves woman tells of struggle on TV

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kelly Chambers of Cleves is the president and founder of For AIDS Children Everywhere.
(Saed Hindash photo)
| ZOOM |
        Kelly Chambers, the Cleves woman who has turned her daughter's death and her own battle with AIDS into a crusade to help other HIV-positive women and children, will appear Friday on the Montel Williams Show.

        Mrs. Chambers and her husband, Clarence Chambers, taped the interview earlier this month in New York.

        “I had stage fright,” Mrs. Chambers said. “Montel was very nice, brief, but a very kind-hearted man.”

        Mrs. Chambers, 30, who contracted HIV through unprotected sex in 1986, didn't know she was infected until her infant daughter was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991. Crystal Chambers was 14 months when she died in her mother's arms in November 1991.

        “Clarence got to everybody when Montel asked him why he stayed with me,” Mrs. Chambers said. “He said, "Because I love her, because my vows said I'd love her in sickness and health, because the baby was my daughter.'”

        Two months after Crystal's death, Mrs. Chambers co-founded the group For AIDS Children Everywhere (FACE). Mrs. Chambers is president. FACE has assisted almost 200 chil dren and adults in HIV-positive families — “infected or affected” — with peer counseling, groceries, household and hygiene products, clothing, recreational outings, holiday and birthday gifts and transportation to clinic appointments and group meetings.

        Mrs. Chambers' Montel appearance will come on AIDS Day of Compassion, a media-oriented commemoration when daytime television shows often theme their episodes to pro mote the compassionate treatment of people with AIDS.

        Mrs. Chambers and her organization were first featured March 21 in The Cincinnati Enquirer, which will update readers periodically on Mrs. Chambers' health and work. The initial story caught the attention of Montel producers and led to Mrs. Chambers' appearance.

        Enquirer readers have responded, too, by donating more than $15,000 in cash and items to FACE since the first story appeared. Other readers have volunteered time.

        Because of that generosity, more than 80 children ages 5-15 — instead of a couple of dozen — will make an overnight trip to SeaWorld in Aurora, Ohio, on July 15 and 16.

        On Sunday, more than 200 people, including HIV-positive children and children with full-blown AIDS, will attend FACE's annual picnic. A Taste of Class in Cheviot is catering the event at cost.

        FACE is in constant need of food, clothing and cash donations because it assists an underserved group of people.

        To donate, write FACE at P.O. Box 19783, Cincinnati, OH 45219, or call 584-3571.


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