In the 1980s, countless Romanian orphans were infected with HIV through blood transfusions, vaccinations, and immunizations in hospitals. Dan was one of those orphans. Now a grown man, he was the only survivor among his friends.
“We made a family,” he says. “Unfortunately, all are gone, and I was left alone.”
Since 2000, Ana Filip, social worker who helps HIV-positive patients, has been working at the hospital where Dan was treated. The children became attached to her. At first, she knew so little about the virus that she was afraid to get close to them.
“In time we began to become friends, to take each other by the hand, to play, to learn, to draw together,” she says.
When Dan was 18 years old, he moved out of the hospital, but he continues to return regularly to take care of other patients.
“Dan, for us, is an example of a fighter,” Ana says. “The story of his life starts with a tragedy—to be infected without blame and to be condemned by society. … He is an inspiration to all of us.”
Though he is a hero to some, Dan is humble about his service.
“My purpose, for me, is to help continuously like I myself was helped,” he says.
To learn how you can help others like Dan, visit giveback.lds.org.