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AIDS Awareness / Unspeakable: Let's Talk About It (Part 1)
October’s session is an invitation to shed light on dark matters. In light of AIDS awareness month, HFA is providing the opportunity to continue learning and healing from our community’s painful history. Join us as we meet Robert C. Cooper; Blood Brother, Creator, Writer, Director, and Executive Producer of the TV series, “Unspeakable.” Based on first-person experience and accounts, “Unspeakable” is a mini-series that chronicles the emergence of HIV and Hepatitis throughout Canada during the early 1980-90s and the tragedy that resulted after thousands with bleeding disorders were infected by tainted blood. Join Rob and special guest panelists for this Q & A session.
The themes shared in this education session will likely lead to a variety of emotions. For those who lost a loved one, the content may raise some especially difficult memories. HFA’s intention is to offer a safe space for the community to honor their memories, learn from their experiences, and discuss relevancy in today’s world as we continue to advocate for product safety and equitable access.
o Community Support – Given the nature of the sensitive topics and because we know that mental health support will likely be needed. HFA has prepared special mental health support aides as part this webinar and the community virtual chats surrounding it. A mental health professional and Mental Health First Aid volunteers will be available online for anyone needing assistance directly following the webinar. Please remain in the same session to continue the conversation.
o The support portion of this session will not be recorded. Anything shared in the support space stays in the support space. Ground rules will be reviewed at the beginning of the support session.
o Resources will be shared near the end of the session and are available online for those seeking additional education and/or mental health resources. You can also refer to our recent Dateline issue/article.

Oct 25, 2022 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Robert C. Cooper
Blood Brother, Creator, Writer, Director, and Executive Producer @Mezo Entertainment
Multi-award winning writer, director and executive producer Robert Cooper has been involved in the creation of over 400 episodes of television. His latest series "Unspeakable," for CBC and Sundance TV, chronicled the Canadian tainted blood tragedy and was produced through his production company Mezo Entertainment. Prior to that, he served as showrunner on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency for BBCAmerica, Netflix and AMC Studios. He is also known for showrunning the record-breaking 17 season Stargate television franchise for MGM. He co-created Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe and served as executive producer, writer, and director of multiple episodes of all three series and two DTV movies.
Vic Parsons
Father, Author, Journalists, and Volunteer
Vic Parsons is the author of "Bad Blood: The Tragedy of the Canadian Tainted Blood Scandal" (1995) which was one of the sources for the television series Unspeakable. An updated version of the book was published in 2019, retitled "Bad Blood: The Unspeakable Truth." Parsons is a retired Canadian journalist and is the father of a son co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C who has survived the most difficult years and who now is the father of two young children. Parsons served two terms several decades ago as the president of the British Columbia Hemophilia Society. He also volunteered on local society boards and on the committee that sought compensation from the Canadian government.
Lorraine Calderwood-Parsons
Mother, Social Worker, Volunteer
Lorraine Calderwood-Parsons is the mother of a son living with HIV, who also lived with Hepatitis C, as well as two daughters. She has been a volunteer with the Canadian Hemophilia Society at the local, provincial and national level for many years. During the late 1980’s and early 90’s, she sat on the boards of the Ottawa And Eastern Ontario Society, the Ontario Chapter as vice chairperson, and as a member of the Canadian Hemophilia Society. She also worked for a short while as a regional coordinator of the Ottawa organization and for the AIDS Committee of Ottawa. Since moving to British Columbia, she worked as a social worker for the provincial government, mostly in community development and policy development among marginalized communities.
André Picard
Columnist, Author @The Globe and Mail
André Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper. He is also the author of six bestselling books, including "The Gift of Death: Confronting Canada's Tainted Blood Tragedy." André has received much acclaim for his writing, notably the prestigious Michener Prize for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and the Centennial Prize of the Pan-American Health Organization, awarded to the top health reporter in the 17 countries of the Americas. He lives in Vancouver.
Adriana Capozzi
Screenwriter, Producer, Director
Adriana Capozzi is a Canadian screenwriter and mother of two amazing young boys. It was a huge privilege for her to collaborate with Robert Cooper on "Unspeakable." After providing development research and writing episode 103, she served as a Co-Producer on the mini-series. Other series she has written for include Safehaven, Tribal and The Detectives. She has had a number of original feature and television scripts optioned, and is currently in development on some exciting new projects. Adriana was deeply humbled to be a part of this important series, and is honored to take part in the web panel discussion.
Bill Mindell
Father, Clinical Director, Public Health Manager, Advocate
Bill Mindell was formerly the Director of Clinical Services (Infectious Diseases, Immunizations, Sexual and Oral Health) of a local health unit in Ontario Canada. During the 1980's-90's, he was a manager in the City of Toronto Public Health Department and the father of an infant son with severe Hemophilia A. He became active in Hemophilia organizations in Canada with a focus on establishing comprehensive care clinics and increasing blood product safety. Bill was the original advocate for using female cryoprecipitate as a hedge against AIDS in 1985 and warned against the use of inadequately heated concentrate. He was a public advocate for safe blood products during the AIDS crisis and testified at the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada (The Krever Commission). His activities were later described in books published by Vic Parsons and Andre Picard. One of the main characters in the “Unspeakable” series is largely based on his life.
Rick Waines
Blood Brother, Vice Chair, Playwright, Volunteer @Canadian Hemophilia Society
Canadian Hemophilia Frank Schnabel Award recipient in his non-profit volunteer work, and Jessie Richardson Award winner in his profession: Rick has dedicated his life to telling the stories from his life with Hemophilia and HIV. Rick is the Vice chair of the Canadian Hemophilia Society, and sits on the blood safety and supply committee. He is also a playwright, currently working on bringing his verbatim drama "In My Day," about the first 15 years of the AIDS pandemic, to stage and screen.