Ken Piercy showed up at Trinity Cathedral nearly twenty years ago. He’d been a member of the choir at St Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego, and had starting attending Trinity Cathedral. He was interested in joining our Cathedral Choir… he auditioned for me, and was welcomed into the choir.
Ken thought it very important right from the first, that I and the members of the choir know that he was HIV+. I was a little taken aback… he was the first person I’d met who had it, and there was still a lot of misinformation about AIDS out there. But his genuineness and warmth won members of the choir over. He was always unapologetic about who he was, but was never obnoxious about it.
He was a active participant in the Trinity Cathedral Choir for over ten years, and traveled to England with us three times to sing in England’s great Cathedrals including Canterbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
Ken always said “I am the face of AIDS,” and the contributions he made to education and awareness of HIV/AIDS were exceptional. He helped to start the AIDS Interfaith Network, which provided support to faith communities grappling with this issue. In particular, he was active in the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California through the HIV/AIDS commission, and travelled all over the North state educating folks about HIV, and the challenges faced by those who suffer from it. His warm and loving personality put a “face” on the disease, and changed the attitudes and preconceptions of many people.
His own personal health gave him challenges through the years. The meds would stop working… he’d get sick… and then something new would come up, and he would rally and be back with us. In late 2010, Ken became sick again. He seemed to have decided not to fight the disease any more. After having spent a lot of time at the VA hospital in Martinez, he was moved back to Sacramento, where he could be surrounded by the many friends he had here. The countless people who visited him during his last few weeks, are a testament to how deeply he was cared about and loved by so many people. On April 10, 2011, Ken joined a new choir as he passed into new life, just a few weeks before I participated in my first NorCal AIDS Cycle.
So, for the fifth year in a row, I am riding in NorCal AIDS Cycle, a 300 mile/four day bike ride, which raises funds for agencies in OUR community who serve those suffering from HIV/AIDS. And as I have every year, I am riding in the memory if this extraordinary man. And again, I am asking your support. No contribution is too small (or too large!), so just click the link below to make a fast and easy tax-deductible contribution to NCAC for 2015.
Thank you all for your support!