TWENTY years after his death, the legacy of Dr. Peter Jepson-Young has endured with the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation.
Born and raised on the North Shore, Jepson-Young was a gay Vancouver physician who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1986, shortly after graduating from UBC medical school.
After living with the disease for four years, Jepson-Young attempted to stem the tide of misinformation and to correct stereotypes related to HIV/AIDS by appearing on the CBC-TV show, the Dr. Peter Diaries.
"It was huge for him to go on TV," recalled his mother, Shirley Young while speaking to the North Shore News in 2010. "Here he was losing his vision, he didn't even have his guide dog yet, and he was going to go on television and say 'Hello, my name is Peter. I'm a doctor, I'm gay and I have AIDS.'
"We thought for sure he'd become the victim of a gay bashing."
Jepson-Young appeared on 111 episodes until his death in 1992 at the age of 35.
The shows were eventually turned into the documentary The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter, which was nominated for a 1994 Academy Award for best documentary feature.
Five years after Jepson-Young's death, the foundation he spearheaded opened the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver's West End.
The centre currently helps 400 people suffering from HIV/AIDS who also face extreme poverty, mental illness, addiction, and homelessness by providing day therapy and residency programs.
In 2010, Jepson-Young was posthumously awarded the UBC Medical Alumni Asssociation's Silver Anniversary Award. Shirley Young accepted the award on his behalf.
"He said, 'If I can help one person it's worth it," Jepson said, recalling a conversation with her son. "Well, he ended up helping the world."
All 111 episodes of the CBC show are available at cbc.ca/bc/features/drpeter.
Find out more about the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation at drpeter.org.