"I didn't plan this journey, and I certainly wouldn't have chosen it. But the things that happened made me who I am. They're inside me now, part of me, in the same way a tiny virus has always been a part of me."
Paige was born HIV Positive and bullied severely in middle school because of her HIV status. Her classmates called her cruel nicknames, such as PAIDS. Her soccer coach even made a joke about how her HIV status could help the team. And the school administrators let her down by not protecting her. After leaving her middle school, she decided to take a stand and started to speak out sharing her story. At the age of fourteen, Paige was granted special permission to become the youngest person to ever be certified through the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS Educator. She even pleaded to congress in her home state of Indiana and helped pass the Anti-bullying Bill #1423 that was affective July 1, 2013.
All through high school Paige was the guest speaker for the I Need You to Listen, Hear, and Understand Me TOUR that was sponsored by Indianapolis Urban League, Indiana AIDS Fund, Indiana State Department of Health, Marion County Public Health Department, Teen Damien, and United Way. This tour travels through Indiana educating youth at schools and churches about HIV/AIDS. In 2013, this tour also added a bullying tour which Paige has had the opportunity to be the guest for as well. Paige has had the opportunity to travel on a national level while working with many organizations, sharing her story to try and reduce the stigma towards HIV/AIDS. Paige has also been involved with Project Kindle as a part of Speak Out that travels to schools across the country to educate about HIV/AIDS and for the students to hear stories from personal kids impacted by the disease. Project Kindle also has a camp called Camp Kindle that Paige became involved with in 2010 as a camper and is now a counselor at the camp. This camp is for kids and teens who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Paige has been treated for her HIV status at Riley Children's Hospital at the Ryan White Infectious Disease Center since her diagnosis. She was named a 2014 Riley Champion. A Riley Champion is someone who is a Riley patient who has inspired communities with their bravery and commitment to help others. They reach beyond their own medical challenges to give meaning to their struggles. Paige also is a Riley Ambassador and travels to different dance marathons, across the state of Indiana, sharing her Riley story. During her freshman year of college, Paige had the opportunity to be apart of the Ball State University Dance Marathon Riley Relations committee.
Paige has been honored numerous times for her involvement in the HIV/AIDS Community. Paige made the list of 5 Female Stigma Warriors Who Will Inspire in 2014 by Stigma Action Network, Top 10 Young Women to Watch in 2014 by the Emma Willard School, and 10 Kids Who Made A Difference in 2013 by Mom.Me. Paige was also selected as one of the 5 Years, 5 Heroes. Five people were selected for their extraordinary contributions to the HIV/AIDS community sponsored by Bristol Myer Squibb. She was given the Excellence Award for her recognition for her contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS presented by Positive Living, inc. Paige was also selected as one of 5 Seventeen Magazine's Pretty Amazing Finalist in 2013. During her senior year of high school Paige was chosen by her administrators to receive the Outstanding Leadership Award and chosen by her class as Most Likely to Change the World.
Paige has been featured in magazines such as Seventeen, GLAMOUR UK, Girlfriend (Australia's version of Seventeen), Indianapolis Monthly, on the cover of POZ as one of the 2014 POZ 100s, and was featured in and on the cover of Scholastic Action magazine. Paige has also been featured in newspapers such as the Indianapolis Star, USA Today, Huffington Post, New York Daily News, Ball State University Daily News, Boston Globe, Indianapolis Recorder, and numerous papers across the country. Paige has also been featured on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, The Doctors, FOX 59 Female Focus feature, Channel One News World AIDS Day special, and Anti-bullying PSA sponsored by Kohl's Caring for Kids.
Paige is currently a college student who is working towards getting a degree in entrepreneurship and business. She is also working towards starting her own organization for HIV education and anti-bullying advocacy. She plans to continue to travel and speak to reduce the stigma towards HIV/AIDS and be an advocate against bullying.