Allan

Allan’s Story

Donate Now

Allan Goodchild was good friends with Bobby Goldsmith and recalls Bobby coming back from Canada, elated at his 17 medals from the Gay Olympics. “Bobby Goldsmith was a treasure - he had a great sense of humour, was highly intelligent and loved music the same as I did,” he says.

Allan still remembers when he first heard about HIV:"The community started hearing rumours about this terrible disease in LA and New York. It astounded me that I could talk to people about it, but they were in total denial. Everybody became concerned but they said, ‘It won’t happen to us. It will never hit here’,” he recalls.

But hit it did, and with devastating consequences for Allan and so many of his friends.

“I was standing in the Oxford bar one day and talking to a regular, and I suddenly staggered sideways as if somebody had pushed me forcefully on the shoulder. I’m convinced to this day that was when my body first reacted to the virus.”

Allan was diagnosed in 1986 and he’s been living with HIV ever since.

Read the Full Story

Allan's Story

Allan Goodchild was good friends with Bobby Goldsmith and recalls Bobby coming back from Canada, elated at his 17 medals from the Gay Olympics. “Bobby Goldsmith was a treasure - he had a great sense of humour, was highly intelligent and loved music the same as I did,” he says.

At the time, Allan was in his thirties and working at the Oxford Hotel in Darlinghurst, taking part in demonstrations, law reform marches and protests. Allan still remembers when the community first heard about HIV:

“We started hearing rumours about this terrible disease in LA and New York. It astounded me that I could talk to people about it, but they were in total denial. Everybody became concerned but they said, ‘It won’t happen to us. It will never hit here’,” he recalls.

But hit it did, and with devastating consequences for Allan and so many of his friends.

“I was standing in the Oxford bar one day and talking to a regular, and I suddenly staggered sideways as if somebody had pushed me forcefully on the shoulder. I’m convinced to this day that was when my body first reacted to the virus.”

Allan was diagnosed in 1986 and he’s been living with HIV ever since.

Living with HIV

Soon after diagnosis Allan began an experimental trial of early antiretroviral drugs. He became violently ill and lost 10 kilograms in two weeks.

“Then came the added complication which many of us were going through, with regard to bodily reactions - drugs causing problems. So then there were other drugs to counteract that, then something else.

There’s no real reason why I can say I’m still here after 28 years,” he reflects. “However I'm grateful I am still here.”

Allan has experienced recurrent health problems ever since his diagnosis. He was also found to be infected with Hepatitis B, and has suffered repeatedly from bad reactions to various medications.

“I’ve now had all four major categories of anti-viral reactions, including a heart attack. I also developed diabetes and loss of bone marrow content which gave me osteoporosis,” he explains.

“I fell over in the street a couple of times. I had no income at all beyond the disability pension and the generosity of friends; I was waiting for my superannuation and my redundancy package and I was behind in my rent.”

Allan was also attacked on the street by unknown thugs, leaving him with a fractured cheekbone and eye socket.

“I got to a point where I could hardly get out of bed.” Allan says.


How BGF Helped

Allan says he remembers the early days of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation well, when they used to have meetings in the upstairs room at the Oxford Hotel. “I found myself working at the Oxford with Bobby’s last partner, Ken.

"We became firm friends when we realised our shared connection with Bobby. Ken was certainly instrumental in setting up the Foundation,” he recalls.

By the time Allan found himself in need of help, the Foundation had been up and running for some years. “They helped me out at a time when I needed it. I had been receiving assistance with bills – electricity, gas,” he says.

Allan has never forgotten the help the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation gave him when he was at his lowest ebb, and he has been a staunch supporter for many years. “I made a donation of about $1500, from memory. Giving them just a small token of appreciation made me feel better,” he remembers.

“BGF is the only Australian HIV foundation that gives direct financial assistance,” he says. “I helped a lot of people who were totally unaware of what the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation could do for them.”

“The fact that I was instrumental in helping as many people as I can, I believe is the reason I’m still here. That’s basically what I’m doing, and I have been doing so for quite a while.”

These days, Allan says, “I’m much more physically stable now that I have been for a long time. I’m feeling a lot better than I have for a long time. The people here at the Foundation do a fantastic job."

Allan explains why he’ll be remembering the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation in his Will.

“I believe that without the help offered by BGF, many more people would have died a long time ago. Possibly from their illness, or possibly from suicide because they just weren’t coping with life,” he says.


Watch the video | Donate Now
Supporters