Excerpted from "A Journey of Hope: Inspiring Stories of Courage and Unconditional Love" by Neil Willenson and the children of Camp Heartland, a community of support for young people affected by HIV.

Poem for Ryan
I believe in angels
Don't you see
They are all around us
Watching after you
And taking care of me

They are helping you travel
Very very far
The twinkle of your eyes
Will be seen in the stars

Look at the moon
There is your smile
Kids all over the world
Will see it for miles and miles

I believe in angels
Don't you see
They are God's helpers
Taking the pain away
From you and me

I love you Ryan

—Stephanie, Age 10

Illness
Why do I have this illness?
Where did it come from?
How did I get it?
Is there a cure?
Why does it have to be a secret from relatives and friends?
How long does this illness last?
A lifetime.
Do I have to live my life in lies?

Why, why, why?
I wish there was no HIV/AIDS.
This illness is making my life terrible.
All these questions are in my head.
I can only express on paper
Not to anyone else.

—Britani, Age 13

My life
My life is sooo hectic it hurts deep inside
To wake up every mornin' and think my brother might die
I feel so sorry for him to lie with this awful disease
Then I look at him and all fear is swept away
He's undetectable for the eighth time in a row
I look at him again and then I know
God is with him everywhere he goes
then a peace comes over me in my soul
Then I look up to heaven and thank God he's alive
Then I hear a voice in my heart
saying I'll be with him at all times

—Lauren, Age 12

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