What’s your greatest fear? Being trapped in an elevator, chased by zombies, or perhaps being buried alive?

How about being infected with an incurable disease, like HIV; a disease that has taken the lives of millions of people and continues to hurt communities all across the world. Unfortunately, this fear became a reality for this year’s Real Talks speaker, Brryan Jackson, who at 11 months old was injected with an HIV-tainted needle by his father. This seemingly terrifying start to his story appeared to head towards a grisly ending but instead, took a miraculous turn for the better.

If this introduction hasn’t inspired you to attend Brryan’s powerful talk on October 19th, then take a read through our top reasons to attend Real Talks and hear his story!

1. He is a survivor

Who hasn’t been uplifted by a survivor story? There is something truly remarkable about witnessing the power of perseverance in the midst of adversity. Brryan’s doctors diagnosed him with AIDS at the age of 5, with a dire diagnosis of premature death. Yet, Brryan beat all odds, surviving well past the few months his doctors had promised his family. In fact, on Brryan’s homepage he says, I want every audience to realize that no struggle is too big for hope to conquer.
Superman emerging from heavy dust storm.

2.He has a HUGE heart

If you’re having trouble forgiving those around you, it may serve you to discover Brryan’s story, and recognize that if he can forgive his father for what he had done, then perhaps our own misgivings can also be put aside.
Kermit the frog hugging another muppet.

3.HIV/AIDS Advocate

HIV/AIDS tend to have a stigma attached to it, especially with its portrayal in the 1980’s and 90’s with images of people that had no hope of survival. Although discrimination still persists, people like Brryan represent a ray of light for those battling this illness. He is an advocate for HIV/AIDS education and awareness, he hopes to empower all those affected by this disease.

4.Avid Dreamer

Despite all odds, Brryan survived. However, that was only part of his success, the other being his incredible persistence to dream big, regardless of the limitations his condition presented. In fact, recently, Brryan achieved the Guinness World Record for giving the highest number of speeches: “24 speeches within 24 hours.” Incredible right? But Brryan has accomplished so much more prior to this, advocating in Congress, and building ‘Hope Is Vital,’ an HIV foundation. But Brryan isn’t finished yet, he’s working on completing a book and continues to share his story in different places, like here at our campus.
Pluto the dog, dreaming about rolling around in bones.

5.Very Positive

Brryan has gone through a number of AIDS related complications in his life. He’s faced countless bullies and discrimination on account of his illness. Yet, in all this turmoil, Brryan has come out smiling and positive about his future. He didn’t hide away, but rather embraced this challenge and made the best he could from this life he was given. Sometimes we complain and get upset over mundane things. Perhaps, we can learn a lesson from Brryan and learn to change our perspective and find the best in every situation life presents.
Smiley face

See you at IGNITE’s Real Talks in the LRC at North Campus on October 19th where Brryan’s talk will follow Drex Jancar – Manager of OVO Clothing, OVO fest, and manager of the artist Majid Jordan!