Val Bias, former CEO of National Hemophilia Foundation, Kimberly Haugstad, former President and CEO of the Hemophilia Federation of America, and John Cunningham, CEO of National AIDS Memorial, at the dedication of the Hemophilia Memorial Circle on September 16, 2017.
"The National AIDS Memorial family mourns the loss this past week of Val Bias, a true leader and tireless advocate for the national and international hemophilia community. Occasionally, there are people who enter our lives who are transformative in spirit, heart and action. Val was one of those people. He made a powerful and impactful difference to countless lives. Val was not just a survivor of Hemophilia, but also a long-term survivor of AIDS. His commitment in creating the Hemophilia Memorial Circle within the National AIDS Memorial Grove brought our two communities together to bring hope, healing, and remembrance, ensuring that the painful story of the hemophilia community and AIDS is forever known. Walking that journey with Val forever changed how we approach our work, our values and our partnerships. He has left us all with a lasting legacy, we honor him for his passion, commitment and love, and he will forever be an important part of the National AIDS Memorial's family and history. In Val’s honor, his family asked that we establish a Val Bias Memorial Fund at the National AIDS Memorial so that his legacy will inspire future generations to continue his important work for the inheritable blood disorders community in the United States and internationally."
— Statement by John B. Cunningham, CEO, National AIDS Memorial
Aa child living in New York state, Val Bias was diagnosed with severe hemophilia B. As a young adult he moved to the Bay Area in Northern California to be the activities director of the Albany YMCA and became a patient of the UCSF HTC. At that time, the UCSF HTC, in conjunction with the Children’s Hospital Oakland HTC and the Hemophilia Foundation of Northern California (HFNC), were planning to hold the first hemophilia summer camp in Northern California, 'Camp Hemotion', and Val was the logical choice to become the program director of the camp. He served in that capacity for many years until he moved to New York City to become the CEO of the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF).
A particular area of interest for Val was blood safety. Along with his co-chair, Dr. Marion Koerper, of the NHF Blood Safety Working Group, he made monthly trips to Washington DC to meet with the FDA to encourage them to mandate testing of all blood donations to ensure the safety of the blood supply for all Americans.
Another concern of Val’s was AIDS. Having lost many of his good friends in the hemophilia community to HIV, he worked with the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to establish the Hemophilia Memorial Circle, which memorializes all those in the hemophilia community lost to AIDS.
The Hemophilia Memorial Circle, located in the National AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
In addition to all these accomplishments, Val was a superb CEO of NHF, establishing research programs with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to promote the UNIVERSAL DATA COLLECTION (UDC) program and with a manufacturer to establish MY LIFE/OUR FUTURE, by which all hemophiliacs and many carriers could be genotyped to find the cause of their hemophilia. Many important scientific discoveries were made through these two programs.
Through all this, Val remained a kind, compassionate man, and was seen as a mentor to many of the young persons he worked with at Camp Hemotion. Val’s presence loomed large in the bleeding disorders community and in the National AIDS Memorial's community, and he will be greatly missed. Val left us all with a lasting legacy. We honor him for his passion, commitment and love, and he will forever be an important part of the National AIDS Memorial's family and history.
The National AIDS Memorial is a registered IRS 501(c)(3). IRS Tax ID# 82-4329012. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.