Despite personal struggles in her life, Glendale resident Judith Ritchie hasn't let any challenge stop her from educating and giving back to a community she has called home since she was 4 months old.
In 1992, Ritchie lost her then-11-year-old son, Alan, to AIDS. Alan had contracted the disease through a blood transfusion when he was 2 days old, and he was diagnosed with HIV in 1988. Although she lost her son at a young age, Ritchie used her own personal tragedy as inspiration to educate others about a disease that so many Glendale parents knew little about.
As president of the PTA at Hoover High School in the mid-1990s, Ritchie educated her peers about the reality and effects of the virus.
"Parents' attitude [was] this won't happen to our family. We found out it does happen to your family, whether you're doing anything wrong or not," Ritchie said. "People were very surprised to find out you could get it that easily … They were very grateful to know what I was telling them and surprised to know how widespread it was."