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About the Founder

Jerry Thacker Before 1986, Jerry Thacker was probably a lot like you. He had a beautiful family, a good church, and a rewarding ministry. He knew vaguely about the "gay plague" known as AIDS, but it seemed a distant threat. AIDS was something that bad people had to worry about. Not Christians. Not the church.

But one Saturday morning in 1986, AIDS came home to the Thackers. A routine blood donation led to news he never could have imagined: his blood had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Follow-up tests proved it conclusively. Both Jerry and his wife, Sue, were HIV-positive.

How could it be? Jerry and Sue were committed Christians. They had been faithful to each other throughout their 14 years of marriage. They should never have been at risk for the disease. Then they remembered Sue's third pregnancy. The delivery had required a blood transfusion -- blood that investigators would later discover was tainted. Sue contracted HIV in the hospital. Jerry got the virus from Sue. The daughter born in that difficult delivery would later test positive for HIV, as well.

For many years, the Thackers kept their condition secret. HIV was something shameful -- God's judgment on immoral behavior. Who in the church would understand?

But slowly, through years of private anguish and exhaustive research, Jerry came to realize that the church had to understand. If AIDS could come home to the Thackers, it could come home to anyone. The vast majority of infected persons don't even realize they have the virus. Who would minister to them when they got the bad news? Who would counsel broken-hearted parents? Who would reach out to sinners in need of God's love and grace? Who would warn Christian teens of the very real danger of AIDS?

Then there were the practical questions: Were church nursery workers taking proper health precautions? Had Christian school administrators come up with guidelines for dealing with HIV-positive students? Did pastors know how to protect healthy church members without violating federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act?

With concerns such as these, Jerry started speaking out on the unspeakable. His books and videos are dispelling the myths about AIDS and helping Christians to think "christianly" about the subject. His workshops are helping church leaders to formulate AIDS policies that are both biblically based and legally sound. And his speeches are challenging thousands of young people to maintain their sexual purity until marriage.

Jerry and Sue also lost their son, Jared, at age 16 in November 1995 to meningitis. He was not HIV infected, but he was affected by the emotional turmoil of AIDS times 3 in the Thacker home. Relating the story of Jared's dealing with the disease and its impact is something that adds a special urgency to Jerry's presentations.

 

To set up a meeting, radio interview, TV interview, or event, call Karen
at 800-588-7744 or 610-372-1111, or e-mail karen@rightideas.us.