Prizm News / April 1, 2018 / By Alden Carney

Dec. 24, 2016: “Alden, I have AIDS”

My dear friend Dominic struggled to utter the words that I’d been dreading, although in the back of my mind I knew it was coming.

Up until this point in my life I’d never been truly scared.

My friend and roommate, who I had seen only two weeks before, looked like a shell of his former self: skinnier, weaker and a sunken face, surrounded by the buzz and whirl of hospital machines in a dimly lit hospital room.

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I assured him that everything was going to be OK. From that point forward, I knew he would be my only priority.

Little did I know how big Dominic’s circle was.

Jan. 9, 2017: Dominic gets moved from Cleveland to Columbus

Every single time I go into his hospital room it is filled with family and friends. And there lies Dominic, peacefully in bed, attempting to smile through all the heartache and pain.

We started to come together as a group. We formed what became known as the DOMMSQUAD, a circle of people who loved, cared for and attended to Dominic to ensure that he had absolutely everything he needed.

We also took care of each other. We took shifts at the hospital, checked in on each other. We made sure no one ever felt alone, most importantly Dominic.

March 2017: Hanging onto hope

Dominic continued to get worse, yet we were still hopeful. We continued to rally around him. We started a fundraising page and raised more than $20,000 in a matter of days, all from the graciousness of those who loved and adored him.

April 3, 2017: Dominic passes away

Surrounded by family and friends, Dominic left this world. You would think this would be the end of his story, but what is so beautiful about Dominic is that this was only the beginning.

April 15, 2017: AIDS Walk Central Ohio

Only 12 days after Dominic passed away, five days after his funeral, the DOMMSQUAD came together yet again, and a group of 60-plus friends raised more than $8,000 that directly benefited the local LGBTIA community.

Today

Dominic changed my life. He changed my perspective.

He introduced to me a life of giving back in his name. He introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of calling my best friends, lifelong friends.

He made me want to be a better person. He made me a better person. Every day I wake up and think about how I can thank him for what he made possible in my life. I am still searching for that answer today.

Dominic made all of us better people, and I think all who knew him can agree that we will continue to fight in his honor and memory.

Luckily, I have Dominic to guide me in that journey, near or far.

 

OHIO’S AIDS WALKS

Sunday, April 8

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati

Robert J. Fass AIDS Walk Central Ohio
Saturday, April 14
McFerson Commons, Columbus

Friday, June 8

Fifth Third Field Plaza, Dayton

AIDS Walk Greater Toledo
Saturday, June 23
Ottawa Park, Toledo

Bob Vitale
Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, he has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Contact: BobVitale@prizmnews.com