Guelph/ June 24, 2016 – Family physician, Anne-Marie Zajdlik has been honored with the Meritorious Service Medal. The medal is granted by the Governor General of Canada to recipients at a ceremony held at Rideau Hall. This year there are 17 recipients of the award. Created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Meritorious Service Decorations recognize Canadians for exceptional deeds that bring honour to our country.

For more than a decade, Zajdlik has travelled regularly to Lesotho, paying her own way, to support those affected by HIV/AIDS while continuing to care for hundreds of HIV positive patients in South-Western Ontario.  As a result of her ongoing visits she founded and continues to spearhead Bracelet of Hope, an initiative designed to support people living with HIV/AIDS in Lesotho.

Bracelet of Hope has raised millions of dollars through the sales of handmade red-and-white bracelets which provides income for African women artisans. Through the sale of bracelets and other fund-raising projects in the Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and Oxford County areas, Bracelet of Hope supports ongoing health care for patients, a foster home program for orphans, and mentorship opportunities between Canadian business owners and their counterparts in Lesotho.

I’m grateful for this recognition; my hope is to bring focus to the ongoing needs of those living in poverty and the people who are suffering as a result of HIV/AIDS both here in Canada and in Lesotho. The world seems to have shifted its focus from this cause, but children and adults still suffer. There is now so much hope.  Treatment of HIV allows for a normal life expectancy.  Communities and families thrive when access to treatment is available.  We have come so far in our fight against the AIDS pandemic.  I believe that in under a decade we will see countries free of AIDS.  My dream is to help bring that reality to Lesotho” says Zajdlik.