Clinical Research Coordinators Volunteer at the Celebration of Life

Clinical Research Coordinators Volunteer at the Celebration of Life

Nov 27

At the Ragon Institute, the communities and individuals affected by HIV and AIDS are the driving force behind the science. While much of our work focuses on the epicenter of the epidemic in Durban, South Africa, we know the importance of engaging communities in Boston as well. On Tuesday, November 20th, 2018 a team of Ragon Clinical Research Coordinators put this mission into action by volunteering at the 31st Annual Celebration of Life. Held at the Hynes Convention Center, the Celebration of life is a free Thanksgiving dinner for more than 700 individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones. In addition to the dedication of the staff at Victory Programs, a Boston-based nonprofit with 19 health, housing, and prevention programs providing shelter and recovery services to 2,500 people annually, the Celebration of Life relies on more than 200 volunteers to help with serving, set-up, greeting guests, check-in, coat-check, and more.


 Volunteers from Ragon and MGH Infectious Diseases


The Ragon Institute is proud to be a continued sponsor of this event and has sent a number of volunteers to help out over the past several years. This year, our Clinical Research Coordinators, including Oliva Carr, Lyan Chung, and Frank Ruzicka, worked to educate members of the community about advancements in HIV research and how they can get involved. Reflecting on their experiences at the event, the Clinical Team shared their enthusiasm: “We really enjoyed participating in this event as it is not only a great way to meet new people, but also to connect with those we have worked with in the past. Ultimately, it is nice to see the community coming together for such a great cause.”



In addition to giving guests an opportunity to celebrate the holidays and connect with friends over food, performances, and a community resource fair, the Celebration of Life is also the biggest fundraiser for Victory Programs’ Boston Living Center (BLC). The BLC is a community and resource center that fosters the wellness of all HIV positive people, including providing peer support, educational workshops, and a crucial food and nutrition program to those affected. What started as a holiday gathering for a small group of friends has become an event with a far-reaching impact. The Ragon Institute is honored to be involved in this annual celebration, and we know that our engagement will continue to motivate our search for a successful HIV/AIDS vaccine.