Phyllis Coprich recalls the well-kept, well-spoken, clean-cut man who appeared to be in his early 30s. He walked into the headquarters for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) and Coprich, working at the front desk that summer day in 2010, greeted him.
He told Coprich that he was in a dire situationhe was about to be without his HIV medication for the first time.
"I could tell it took a lot for him to ask for help," said Coprich, who started the ball of needed AFC services rolling for this client.
A few days later, he wrote a letter to AFC, praising Coprich. He said she, "was warm and welcoming and helped to change a very bleak outlook."
Coprich said she, "felt really proud," of the surprising letter. "It feels really good to make a difference."
Coprich has been working at AFC for three years, which initially involved business-side work with AFC's endurance-training program.
"I'm pretty transparent. I'm the same way at work as I am away from work: fun-loving and full of life," said Coprich, who admits she prefers to hug people as opposed to shaking hands. " [ I am ] excited and eager to explore and learn about anything and everything. I am a proud mom and NaNa. It's really strange saying that [ I am a grandmother. ] I love spending time with my small family and [ also ] just getting in my car driving and ending up somewhere I've never been before. I'm a sky gazer and can find beauty in the simplest of things.
"I love helping others find a voice, get an answer and hopefully in what I do one day find a cure."
Coprich has lost many loved ones to AIDS, and knows others close to her infected with HIV.
"Not knowing what to do [ before working at AFC ] or where to go to help them help themselves was so very frustrating. I began to network and ask questions and get answers, and speak up and out about the virus," Coprich said. "Now, helping people affected by and living with HIV/AIDS is a part of my DNA. My passion is the younger generation. If each one can reach and teach one, I truly believe that we can stop the spread of HIV/AIDS."
Lives in:: Steger, Ill.
Hobbies: Plays, movies, roller skating, dancing and traveling
Job title: Ryan White Part B eligibility associate, AIDS Foundation of Chicago
Relationship status: Partnered to LaTiste Marks. Has two sons ( Phillip, 20; and Zechiah, 17 ) and one grandson ( Phillip, Jr. )
Favorite local restauranta: Grand Lux Café
High School: Chicago Vocational
Little-known fact: "I'm adopted and I love country-line dancing," she said.
Cannot live without: Music