The Chris Weedy Family Assistance Fund has been established by Ms. Weedy’s husband, Jimmy Creech, and daughter, Natalia Weedy, in memory of Chris and to honor her work and commitment to the patients and families she served.
Chris Weedy (November 18, 1954 – March 10, 2021) started the first HIV/AIDS support group in North Carolina in 1987. Because of this pioneering work with HIV/AIDS, she was recruited to work with the Duke Pediatrics Infectious Disease Clinic where she was the dedicated clinical social worker from 1988 to 1996. There she developed the department’s first psycho-social services program for children and their mothers who were HIV+ or had AIDS.
Because state funding for children with AIDS in foster care was woefully inadequate, about $350 per month, Chris drafted legislation in 1994, to increase the monthly funding to $1,000.00 to help cover the special needs and medical cost of children with AIDS. The legislation was passed by the NC General Assembly.
Chris was a founding member of the AIDS Service Agency of Wake County (now the Alliance for AIDS Services NC) in 1989, and served first as its Board Vice-President and then President.
Chris supervised six pediatric HIV/AIDS social workers in the NC AIDS Network and served as staff to the NC Children’s AIDS Network Community Advisory Board. Chris served as Co-Vice Chair (1994-1997) and Co-Chair (1997-1998) of the National AIDS Clinical Trials Group Pediatric Supportive Care/Quality of Life Committee, conducting research on how to improve the quality of life for children with HIV.
Chris received several recognitions for her work and advocacy in support of children and families with HIV/AIDS. In 1994, she was given the Sandra E. Hendrickson AIDS Service Award by the Wake County Department of Health and the AIDS Service Agency of North Carolina, Inc. She was recognized as Tarheel of The Week by The Raleigh News and Observer in January, 1996. That same year, she received The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, presented to her by the Honorable James B. Hunt, Governor of North Carolina.
In 2000, Chris began an extensive career as a psychiatric social worker. In 2012, she became a Clinical Instructor in the UNC School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, with Crisis and Assessment Services in Raleigh, retiring in May of 2020.
Because many of the patients and their families who came to the Duke Pediatric Infectious Disease Clinic had limited financial resources, Chris recognized that special funds were needed to help meet nonmedical emergencies that adversely impact health care. An article entitled, “Better Days for Children Goal of Duke AIDS Clinic,” Durham Morning Herald, May 20, 1988, reports:
“Chris Weedy, the only full-time social worker, would like to have money to establish an emergency fund for patients and their families.
“‘Just the other day, a mother called me because her electricity had been cut off because she couldn’t pay her bills,’ she said. ‘I was able to get the money from somewhere and get them turned back on, but it’s not easy. Stuff like this happens all the time. The fund could also pay for transportation for the patients and for a day-care program, which is desperately needed because most day-care centers will not accept children with AIDS.’”
The Chris Weedy Family Assistance Fund has been created to meet essential needs not covered by insurance for families experiencing financial hardship. It will be administered through the Case Management Patient Care Fund and available to all infectious disease patients and their families cared for by Duke Children’s Health Center and Duke Creekstone clinic locations; no one or diagnosis is excluded. Natalia and Jimmy dedicate this fund in celebration of Chris’ life and legacy, and to the futures of the children she cared for so deeply.