Living well with HIV & AIDs
405. Steve Whitmore
A London volunteer who has used his fitness expertise to help thousands of people living with HIV
Steve Whitmore has been a volunteer fitness instructor on YMCA Club’s community programmes for the past 25 years, donating over 2,600 hours of his time to others. He has mentored over 1000 patients who require extra support and guidance due to medical conditions, enabling them to become more active to improve their mental and physical health.
Steve, 50, a former Royal Engineer was inspired to help people living with HIV and Aids after several of his friends contracted HIV and had little or no understanding of how living with HIV would alter their lives. This motivated Steve to help establish the Positive Health scheme at the Central YMCA offering a mentored programme of health education alongside exercise training and healthy living advice. Steve has volunteered on the scheme for 18 years, making him the longest serving member.
Steve also delivers lectures at Positive East, East London’s HIV support charity, and teaches the YMCAfit Training module, “living with HIV”, nationally recognised fitness training course for Personnel Trainers and health professionals. This training qualification allows the next generation of teachers and trainers to work with individuals who have HIV and helps to raise awareness of HIV in the community. Steve has also coached 16 Positive Health members living with HIV to successfully complete the London Triathlon. He organised twice weekly training sessions, for 6 months, giving up his time every week to enable the Positive Health members to achieve their dream of finishing the triathlon.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“As people around the world unite to support those living with HIV it is fitting that we recognise the difference Steve has made in the lives of over 1,000 people living with HIV and AIDS. By giving them the advice and support they need to improve their physical fitness Steve helps them to live their lives to the full and he is a thoroughly deserving Point of Light.”
“Being recognised for the points of light award is an amazing experience which is quite humbling. I could never have imagined that when I first started volunteering it would lead to a career in the fitness industry and being awarded this fantastic award.”