A memorial for Arlo Andrade-Janzen will be held Wed., Dec. 28, in the Grand Ballroom of the Carlton Hotel, 1110 Pleasant St., Oak Park, 5-9 p.m.
Andrade-Janzen died in Denver on Dec. 7 after being in hospice care for 11 months. He was born with HIV in 1986 and had spent many years with his family in the Chicago area.
"Over the summer, we started noticing more of the decline," said his mother, Eva Janzen Powell, who lives in Oak Park. Both she and her son were diagnosed with HIV in 1987, along with her first husband.
Powell, who remarried after her husband passed away, became active in HIV/AIDS causes. But over the years her son struggled with adherence to his medications.
"He had a very difficult time committing to taking it as as he needed to, long-term," she said. "About a month or two is all he could do. Like a good number of people with HIV, he suffered from deep depression and extreme anxiety. These extreme mental-health illnesses prevented him, a lot of the time, from just maintaining a healthy regimen and lifestyle."
Powell admitted that many people in her son's life didn't understand the commitment that antiretroviral medications require.
"They didn't understand the type of support Arlo needed to do that," she added. "But I think that many of his friends in Denver supported him. I don't think his friends there gave him pressure about that. I was just amazed by the love his friends there had for him."
Andrade-Janzen had moved to Colorado because of that the ease in accessing medicinal marijuana in that state.
"He was relying on that [in Illinois] to help with appetite and alleviating pain," she said. "…When he lived here, he became a student of marijuana and cannabinoids. He was very well-educated in it, and further educated himself [in Colorado]. Just this past summer, he received his license from the state of Colorado to be an employee in a dispensary, but by then his health was failing too much to work."
One dream was to "own a small piece of land in the mountains," Powell added. "It would have been a small house for him to live in, and a place for him to grow his own plants."
Another longtime dream of Andrade-Janzen's was to be a movie critic.
"He was a huge movie buff, especially horror movies," recalled Powell. "After he was in Denver, before his health declined, he wanted to go to film school there. .... He was writing a screenplay with a friend. He had started working on it here in Oak Park, before he went out there."
As his health declined, Andrade-Janzen's goal was to live until his 30th birthday on Sept. 20, which he celebrated with family members.
"Despite this very dark side he, had he also had this lighter side, and this amazing sense of humor," Powell recalled. "He did poetry. His use of words, when he talked, were always amazing. Just an interesting, brilliant guy."
In lieu of flowers and gifts, people can make donations in Andrade-Janzen's honor/memory to the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative ( PACPI ). Donations can be made online at PregnantAndPositive.org or by mail 200 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60606.