Joseph Cristina has been a leader in efforts to support children and families affected by HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years. He continues to give his time and resources to serve this vulnerable and underserved community, volunteering weekly to serve children and families at the Bickerstaff Pediatric Family Center at MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.
The Bickerstaff Center offers a multi-disciplinary, family centered care approach through their HIV and Infectious Disease Care programs, caring for infants, children, adolescents and pregnant women who are at risk for, or infected with, HIV/AIDS, acute community-acquired illnesses, chronic infections and other immunological disorders.
Cristina turned the personal tragedy of his own HIV-positive diagnosis into motivation, creating the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, which would go on to have a global impact and reach, supporting non-profit organizations both nationally and internationally for more than
In 2013, Cristina, a former Mattel Inc. executive, and the Mattel Children’s Foundation announced the creation of the Joseph Cristina HIV/AIDS Fund, with the purpose of making a difference in the lives of children affected by HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
“As difficult as it is being an adult dealing with both the physical and mental struggles of HIV, I cannot begin to imagine how hard it must be for the children and families who are living with this each and every day,” says Cristina.
The Joseph Cristina HIV/AIDS Fund has been a generous supporter of the Bickerstaff Center and continues to support the center’s multi-disciplinary family support and HIV research programs.
Most recently, the fund gifted the Bickerstaff Center with $10,000 grant to support the transportation services for patients and families who receive treatment and supportive care at the Bickerstaff Center. One of the major obstacles that patients and families with HIV face is a lack of transportation, for a variety of reasons. This grant will allow staff to offer patients taxi and gas vouchers as well as help with the costs of public transportation.
“The Bickerstaff Family Center holds a special place in my heart,” says Cristina. “The center has an impact on children and families right here in my own community, and I am proud to help out any way I can.”
Joseph Cristina (far right) shared his personal experience with HIV at a World AIDS Day event at Miller Children's & Women's.