Heading out for a night of dancing in downtown Durham is not the same as it was nearly 30 years ago for members of the LGBT community. Back then, club and show bar The Power Company was in its heyday as the place to hear the best DJs in the state mix dance hits and to showcase top female impersonators for weekly shows, and city and state pageants.
By 2000, The Power Company closed. But this past winter, a Facebook alumni page helped spark a reunion and fundraiser. Any money raised above the costs to hold the event was split between the Raleigh LGBT Center and the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic’s Hope Fund.
“For many of us, The Power Company was a place of freedom in which we could be ourselves, and find ourselves. It was a place of love and acceptance in the midst of an otherwise misunderstanding world,” says David Currin, who helped organize the reunion, and who works as a nurse and researcher in the UNC Division of Infectious Diseases. “I thought of this idea to donate to the LGBT Center and the Hope Fund not just for those of us who remember the wonderful nights at the club, but also in memory of those who have gone before us, who danced with us and beside us, but who weren’t fortunate enough to live long enough to see how far we have come as a community.”
Currin presented ID Clinic Medical Director Claire Farel, MD, MPH, with a check for $3,190 to support the Hope Fund. Farel says the fund seeks to remove any obstacles to care people living with HIV face.
“The Hope Fund allows us to show patients that we see them as complete people,” says Farel. “We know that getting healthy and staying healthy involves more than just medical visits and medications. There are a lot of things in life that are difficult and stressful and the Hope Fund lets us partner with our patients in a small way to work to reduce barriers to good health. The importance of this gift cannot be understated. The Hope Fund makes an enormous difference in people’s lives and its existence represents a hand extended to our patients.”
ID Clinic social worker Ellen McAngus, LCSWA, says several dozen patients benefit from the Hope Fund annually. The money is for emergency uses only, including payment of utility bills, rent, parking fees, gas and food.
“We try to ensure that our patients’ physical needs are met so we can focus on their health care,” says McAngus. “This donation is so helpful because it replenishes this fund.”
To donate to the Hope Fund, contact the ID Clinic at 984-974-7198 and ask to speak to clinic manager or social worker. Checks should be made out to UNC Hospitals and designated for the ID Clinic Hope Fund.
Mail checks to:
Attn: UNC ID Clinic Hope Fund donations
UNC ID Clinic
101 Manning Drive
First Floor Memorial Hospital
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030