DARIEN, Conn. – Drawing on anecdotes from her family, travels and work with HIV/AIDS patients, Jenna Bush Hager Thursday gave an emotional talk at a benefit for STAR, Inc. Lighting the Way, calling on the sold-out audience in Darien to make a difference in the lives of others.
Bush, who said she is nine months with her first child, said her father, President George W. Bush, and her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, have inspired her to look for ways to help people around the world.
“My parents not only brought my sister Barbara and I into the world, they brought the world to us,” said Hager. “I’ve been inspired by their work.”
Neither Jenna nor Barbara is interested in pursuing a life in politics, she said, but they both have taken up causes to assist in influencing policy decisions to help the less fortunate. Barbara co-founded the Global Health Corps, and Jenna has traveled to Africa and South America on behalf of Unicef.
It was in South America, where she lived for nine months in 2006, that Hager met a young woman born with HIV named Ana, who Hager wrote about in her New York Times best-selling book “Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope.”
“Ana wanted everyone to know that she was living with HIV, not dying from it,” said Hager, adding that today Ana is healthy, teaching children and working at a hotel in Panama. She did not pass HIV onto her daughter due to Ana being treated for the disease at an early age.
A final tally was not yet available, but Hager’s speech at the Woodway Country Club may have helped raise thousands of dollars for STAR, the Norwalk-based agency that works with children and adults with developmental disabilities.
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