If, out of the blue, you were given just two weeks to live, how would you feel? What would you do? How would you prepare for the end? Who would you tell – and how?
This was the terrible position I found myself in in the late summer of 2006. I knew I was seriously ill – but had no idea I had both HIV and AIDS.
Luckily, I did not die. Expert medical help and my own determination not to give in saw me through. My life, though, had changed for ever….
‘Ripples’ is my account of a life-changing diagnosis and the impact it had on me and those around me – hence the title. But it is more than just a memoir. My story is not unique, which is why ‘Ripples’ spreads outwards to give a voice to 13 other people who have undergone similar traumatic diagnoses and survived.
With a foreword by Ian Green, CEO of The Terrence Higgins Trust, this book contains wisdom, hope, humour and inspiration in equal measure. It is an essential read for anyone living with a life-changing condition, and for those who support them.
You can hear an interview I gave about the book to Radio Reverb by clicking here to open a new window.
Reviews of ‘Ripples’ from Amazon readers
So well written from the heart. Warning you will cry.
Roland’s account of his diagnosis is written so well. From the first page, Roland pulled me in, and I was emotionally attached to his and Richards story. I have secretly fallen in love with them both, Richard for his support to Roland, during the most challenging of times, Roland for how he has turned a life-changing occurrence into such a positive experience for himself and others. The journey and challenges that they both faced from all aspects of their lives are an example and education to others faced with a similar diagnosis.
The stories of the 14 who have been affected by their diagnosis gave an insight into their experiences and how their lives have changed. Each situation has heartbreak, but also a fight for survival. To see how each person has turned the darkest of times, into something positive makes their stories so valuable in educating the wider community and taking the stigma of HIV away.
Thank you, Roland, for sharing such a personal story and to all involved with the book.
Miss L S Martin
I found this book amazingly touching and beautifully written. Having gone through chronic ill health myself i was interested to read a book on a someone’s similar journey but one written with positivity and i was not disappointed. Roland eloquently writes about his experience of being diagnosed with AIDS/HIV and the subsequent fall out on his life. What i particularly liked about this book and Roland is how he has turned this into something positive and the incredible work he is now doing to support other people with all types of disability. I would highly recommend reading this book, a great read and wonderfully informative on AIDS/HIV, an illness which is still surrounded by much confusion and judgement.
“Ripples from the edge of Life is a heartfelt and profound memoir”
Roland Chester’s account of living with HIV will give hope to many. His story is both heartbreaking and optimistic, in equal measure. This is not just a must read for those diagnosed with HIV. This book will provide awareness for family and friends, too.
“What a Great Read!”
This was a great read and also very moving of how life can change in an instant with so many unknowns and how Roland overcame those obstacles to help others facing the same or similar situations. Well done!!!!
This book is really interesting and give you the reader an insight into what a newly diagnosed HIV sufferer goes through and how it effects everyone within Roland’s social and family circle. Naturally there are highs and lows. It’s a rollercoaster of a journey of treatments, medication and many questions some of which cannot be answered. It’s a compelling book. It takes you through and emotional journey. I found myself cheering him on praying that various treatments would work. Truly amazing story.
“A view of life living with a chronic condition which is emotional and inspirational”
I have been HIV positive for twenty three years, and thought I was immune to the emotional upheaval of a positive diagnosis, but this book tells the story of how difficult it has been, and still is, to learn that your life’s course has changed. It is wonderfully written, taking you into the life of the author, sharing with him the pain, worry, sadness, despair, and the positivity which came from his diagnosis. The personal stories of other positive people were so heartfelt and honest. Ripples from the Edge of Life is powerful, honest and inspirational. Amazon Customer “A true reflection of a life experience” A true account of a persons lived experience. I read it cover to cover in three sittings. Emotional, thought provoking and informative, I highly recommend it.
“Feeling the Ripples”
I came across this book and author on Facebook. Despite being a gay man, I must confess to not knowing an awful lot about HIV and AIDS , apart from the basics, as it had never personally touched my life. This book changed all that. Written in a personal and engaging style, it was like having a conversation with a friend. Roland’s story of his diagnosis and coming to terms with his status and ultimately coming out to family, friends and work colleagues was both moving, extremely informative and very up lifting. The personal accounts of other people with HIV+ status also brought home how very real and life impacting, both for good and bad, this diagnosis is. This book dispels the myths and sensationalism that this condition has attracted in a way which is real, and very very accessible. It is an excellent read, and I thoroughly recommend it
“A no holds barred account of how a life-changing diagnosis will affect us”
I am proud to be a small part of this book, well 8 pages worth towards the back (257-264). I am a newbie compared to all the other contributors. Being diagnosed in July 2015. Everyone was so open and honest with how their own diagnosis affected them as well as everyone around them. This is a must read to anyone who has been newly diagnosed, so they can see no matter how hard the road may be, they will come through it
I also urge Partners & Family and Friends to read this no holds barred account of how a life-changing diagnosis will affect us. So they can be there when we fall down and help us back up again. We can’t do it without you!
D W Metz
“If you know someone with HIV, even if that someone is you, you need to read this book”
This book is particularly poignant for me as my partner, Anthony, died from AIDS in the mid ’80’s. The author has nicely set out three sections; first, his own voice describing his experience, second, the experiences and voices of those around him through his process of learning to live with HIV, and lastly, individuals who all tell their remarkable stories of living with HIV. He captures their words and feelings very well. Most brilliant of all, is that in just a few pages, he brings full people to life. He allows them to tell their stories and it smashes any stereotypes one may have about what it is like to live with HIV.
This book is educational, emotional, honest, and is full of the experience, strength and hope of people learning to live with a diagnosis that is still frightening today.
“Your eyes will be opened!”
I met Roland at a business networking meeting where he was the Speaker. His talk completely took me aback. HIV/AIDS had been off my radar for years so I was really not expecting that to be the topic. A little older than Roland, I was all too familiar with the tombstone ads and then subsequently Princess Diana’s amazing efforts to change people’s perceptions of those suffering with the disease. Around the same time I had an acquaintance who died from AIDS before the age of 30; there was the shock of Rock Hudson’s death, Kenny Everett, Freddie Mercury, the Philadelphia film with Tom Hanks but as a heterosexual, non drug using female over the years the subject has been less and less of an issue that I have been aware of. I knew of course that Elton John was a very active fundraiser but I think I had subconsciously just associated with it more with African countries these days and that it really didn’t exist in the UK anymore. Roland’s book is an eye opener, an inspiration, an education, and not just about HIV/AIDS but much of it can apply to other life changing conditions or illnesses, particularly those with a stigma attached such as mental health. I highly recommend to anyone going through anything similar or those close to them to read this book!
“Gripping and enlightening”
A great combination of gripping personal testimony and enlightening discussion. Highly recommended
A fantastically written book that covers an important topic. A must read for anyone wanting to understand living positively in all senses. Well done Roland.
“A very honest, from-the-heart book”
The power of this book cannot be under-estimated, and while the author’s diagnosis was one of HIV/AIDS, the depth of wisdom and personal experience contained in these pages has relevance for anyone facing a life-changing event of any kind. Roland Chesters is a warm and often witty narrator; despite (perhaps because of!) the subject matter he maintains a positive yet realistic outlook on life, as do many of the people living with HIV, whose first-person accounts also appear in the book. ‘Ripples’ is right from the heart – if you’re dealing with a life-changing event, reading this book might just help you change your life.
“An insightful read for anyone wanting to know more about the consequences of a life-changing diagnosis”
I read this book in one go! It is very thought-provoking, and I was genuinely moved by Roland’s story, some of which brought back memories for me. It was a truly frank account of being diagnosed, dealing with the diagnosis and then living with HIV. Roland’s story was complemented by the stories from other people, some more positive than others, yet all a reflection of the realities of HIV.
I can’t wait to read volume 2. Despite Roland’s protestations to the contrary, he really is an author, and to not write another book, HIV-related or not, would be our loss.
The ebook can be ordered from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2rjBiPs
To order a paperback version of the book, please use the link below.
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.Maya Angelou