If, out of the blue, you were given just two weeks to live, how would you feel? What would you
do? How would you prepare for the end? Who would you tell – and how?
This was the terrible position Roland Chesters found himself in in the late summer of 2006. He
knew he was seriously ill – but had no idea he had both HIV and AIDS.
Luckily, Roland did not die. Expert medical help and his own determination not to give in saw him
through. His life, though, had changed for ever….
‘Ripples’ is Roland’s account of a life-changing diagnosis and the impact it had on him and those
around him – hence the title. But it is more than just a memoir. Roland’s story is not unique,
which is why ‘Ripples’ spreads outwards to give a voice to 13 other people who have undergone
similar traumatic diagnoses and survived.
This book contains wisdom, hope, humour and inspiration in equal measure. It is an essential
read for anyone living with a life-changing condition, and for those who support them.
With a foreword by Ian Green, CEO of The Terrence Higgins Trust, this book is a must-read for
anybody who is impacted by a shock diagnosis. Not only the person on the receiving end of the diagnosis, but those around them – family, friends, employers, carers, medical professionals.
This was an outstanding read, A book that covers Roland’s journey. A journey of denial, anger, acceptance and deciding that his diagnosis and disease would not define him. In fact Roland does not refer to it as a disease but rather a disability.
|The book is in three parts.|
From illness, diagnosis and working for himself and others. Testimonials from his partner, health workers and workmates.
The telling of his Diagnosis to his friends and their acceptance. And his work through various forums to help others living wit HIV and AIDS.
Testimonials from HIV and AIDS survivors and their stories
I could relate to this book in another level. the level of being diagnosed .by a life threatening disease. In 1998 I was diagnosed HepatitisC positive. I understood the fear, anger and the unknown. Luckily I was put on a clinical trial which in my case was successful.
Roland and other HIV positive are not so lucky. Whilst they can manage their condition as far as I’m aware there is no cure. I love Roland’s positivity and I recommend this book highly!
Roland Chesters, author of Ripples from the Edge of Life.
Roland was born in the north of England to an English father and French mother and has lived most of his life in London after a somewhat rocky start in Paris. He graduated from the Royal Holloway College with a degree in Modern Languages way back in the last century, and after a variety of jobs in senior management in the private sector he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a language-testing specialist. Following a life-changing diagnosis of HIV and AIDS in 2006, he became a campaigner for disability rights. He subsequently enjoyed a number of different roles within the FCO as Diversity & Equality Officer and later Learning & Development Adviser, where he gained his L&D qualifications. There he was also elected Chair of the Disabled Staff Network and worked with the Civil Service Disability Network. He is now a self-employed Disability Development Consultant and has his own company, Luminate (www.luminate.uk.com).
Roland is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and of the Chartered Institute of Management as well as the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning. He is a qualified Mediator and currently sits on the Standards for Disability Mediation Working Group of the College of Mediators. He is also a Motivational Speaker and a member of the Professional Speaking Association.
As a Consultant he says he “works with the person in the wheelchair to enable them to climb their highest mountain”. He collaborates with individuals who have become disabled later in life, organisations that employ them or want to employ them and agencies that support them. As a speaker he focuses on his own personal experiences to enable his audiences to reflect on how to overcome the challenges that we all face in our lives to make the most of the short time that we have. His motto is ‘Inspire, Educate, Challenge’.
Roland lives with his partner, Richard, in London and enjoys opera, classical music, theatre and fashion (his favourite item of clothing being a bright red corduroy suit). He fights boredom and normality with gusto, and says he is at his best when he’s made a positive impact on someone else’s life.
He is the author of the ‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’, which he says will be his one and only publication. The book was published by SilverWood Books in May 2018 and GScene said of it “None of us know how many heartbeats we have left; facing mortality is a culturally difficult thing. Ripples gives us clear clarion voice after voice which shows us, gently but insistently, there are many ways of successfully navigating horrific times, and surviving.” With a foreword by Ian Green, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV charity, ’Ripples’ chronicles how he and thirteen others have managed their diagnosis of HIV and, in some cases AIDS, the impact this has had on their lives and the lives of those around them. The year of diagnosis ranges from 1984 to 2015 and it becomes clear through that timeline that although HIV may no longer be a death sentence, the impact of the diagnosis can still be completely devastating. The stories come from both men and women, aged between mid-twenties to late-seventies and are testaments to the courage and resilience required to cope with the condition. HIV has not gone away. With over 100,000 people living with the condition in the UK, and that number continuing to grow, it remains one of the most stigmatised disabilities in the world.
“Roland captures his powerful, personal story, and the stories of those who stood alongside him
on the way in a book that engages and inspires in equal measure.”
Grant Sugden, Chief Executive, Waverley Care
“Ripples – The impact of a life changing diagnosis” is an absorbing and moving testament to real
lives lived, and a tribute to lives lost, in a particular time and place in the story of HIV. As well as
telling his own story of how his life changed irrevocably on September 1st 2006, and the rippling
consequences of that for everyone in his life, Roland draws together the experiences of others
who have faced the same diagnosis across the 3 decades in which we have been responding to
HIV in the UK. The chapters are filled with eloquent voices that tell us how it is to live with HIV,
with all the ups and downs, the plusses and minuses. All experiences are reflected in these pages
and these are voices that deserve to be heard.”
Siobhán Lanigan, CEO, The Food Chain
“Ripples gives a unique insight into the emotional roller coaster of a HIV diagnosis and its life-long
impact. Reading the personal experiences was haunting and reinforces the importance of having
flexible HIV support services to meet the differing needs of each person and not making the
assumption that one size fits all. Definitely one of my top recommended reads.”
Steph Mallas, CEO. George House Trust, Manchester
“The accounts presented in this book are all to familiar to many of us within the National LongTerm Survivors Group (NLTSG), where we often hear from those more recently diagnosed HIV
Positive, that they take great solace from those who have gone through the worst of it. If this
Book does nothing else but to assist in breaking down the Stigma of a POSITIVE diagnosis, both
from others and onto ourselves, then it will have performed a powerful task.”
Tremaine Cornish, Trustee, NLTSG
“What Ripples does is shine a light on some of the people battling through life with HIV. These
honest life-changing stories are prime examples of the true faces of HIV. Each story made me
think about the person not the virus. It brought humanity to all the work we at GMFA are trying to
do. And humanity is the key to ending HIV and HIV stigma.
Roland has produced a wonderful book. These stories will touch your heart and engage your
mind. They remind me about what we all need to do to end HIV once and for all. I hope after you
read this book you raise a glass to all those we have lost to HIV and AIDS since the early 1980’s
and then drink to the thousands of people in the UK who are not only surviving but thriving while
living a healthy normal life. Our battle against HIV isn’t over yet but if we all come together we can end HVI