Cathy is an inspirational lady to chat to. Living with HIV hasn’t stopped her from indulging her passion for travelling around the world. We managed to catch her in Scotland, in-between trips, to learn more about her.
When did you first become involved with Waverley Care?
It was shortly after I arrived in Edinburgh in the summer of 2000. I’d been working in Cambodia before that.
What have been the main challenges for you living with HIV?
I think the most difficult time was in 2000. It was coming to a new place not having good health and no network of friends. Not being well and not working – that was quite a challenge. Waverley Care was the place that filled the gap for me at that time. It understood about not being very well and provided a network of people who became my friends.
What positives can you take from living with a long-term condition?
It makes you appreciate being alive.
How does Waverley Care help you now?
Even though I’m absolutely fine now, it’s great to have a place to come and talk to others who understand what it’s like living with HIV. It’s also a chance to help support and pass on things I’ve learnt to others as I’ve been living with the virus since 1996.
You’re also involved in another HIV charity – tell us more about that.
The charity is called Impact AIDS and was set up to campaign for people to get the same standard of treatment internationally that people can get here. It tries to get the world HIV situation to be noticed here in Scotland. I was even prepared to swim in the North Sea on World AIDS Day (1st December) in 2013 to raise money for the charity. The event also showed that you can be over 60, living with HIV and be well enough to swim in the North Sea.
Tell us a bit more about you…. what is your favourite book?
Anything by Edith Wharton.
Do you have a favourite film?
I really like the Bill Forsyth film, Local Hero. It’s about an American Oil Representative in rural Scotland. I saw it in the 1980s when it was released and again recently. It hasn’t dated and I think it’s still really relevant.
What is your favourite food and drink?
Some nice smelly French cheese with wine.
Any plans for the future?
I love travelling and exploring the world and recently journeyed along the Silk Road across Asia which you can read more about in an article I wrote. I used to be a teacher and between January and March 2015 I was in Bangladesh teaching again. I was great to be back in the classroom and I’d like to do more of that.