Tonight, I’ve lit a candle.
This candle is in remembrance of a person I have never known, but whose name has been marked in my calendar for this particular day for months.
His name is Odd Kåre Rabben, and he was one of the first to publicly come out as HIV-positive in Norway. He is one of the many who had to endure the stigma that came with this awful disease, which he contracted as a result of infected blood, on account of his hemophilia.
He was diagnosed in 1985. In 1990, he came forth with his diagnosis.
On the 6th of February 1992, he was invited to meet with the King and Queen, during an audience at the Royal Residence. He died on this day in 1993, 21 years ago, before turning seventeen.
I don’t know much else about him. I don’t know which hardships he had to endure. I don’t know much about his short life. I know that he was part of the jury picking out the Norwegian segment for the 1992 ESC, and that he recorded a cassette before he died. He also established a foundation for the purpose of HIV-research at the National Hospital.
I know so little about this person, this young man and the hardships he must’ve endured on account of this disease that has taken so many lives, but I know that he was immensely important for the development we’ve had up until today and which is still ongoing.
Because of this, the name of this stranger has been written in my calendar for months, and I would like to express my gratitude for this young man and his bravery.
Though I have so little knowledge about him, I will never forget him.
Takk, Odd Kåre.
Odd Kåre Rabben’s mom, Vigdis has written a book about her son’s life and battle against the disease, published by Lunde Forlag under the title “Ei hånd å holde i”. It’s on my list of upcoming reads.