Atlantic Beach resident Richard Brodsky uses health challenges to help others
Courtesy Richard Brodsky
Richard Brodsky and wife Jill,, center, who travel to Africa annually to celebrate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, served dinner to 300 children at Mama Pilista Bonyo Memorial Health Care Centre in Kenya in 2012.
The year 2012 was a celebratory one for Atlantic Beach resident Richard Brodsky as he marked two anniversaries: surviving HIV after 15 years and brain cancer after a decade.
Brodsky had a difficult decision to make in August 1997 after he was diagnosed with HIV. “I love my wife a lot and having to tell her this was very difficult,” he said. “I had three choices; I could kill myself, but I couldn’t do that because of my three daughters, my wife and I could get a divorce and I would move out or we could stick together and work things out.”
Brodsky, a Lawrence High School graduate, met his wife of 32 years, Jodi, on a blind running date in Houston, Texas. “She was very loving and wanted it to work out,” he said.
Jodi was shocked when her husband told her he was HIV positive. “We were not so aware of how you could contract HIV, and he was my best friend,” she said. “I knew immediately that we would stay together and try to work this out.”
In 2002, Brodsky wrote a book about his relationship with his wife called, “Jodi: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.” While on a book tour in November that year, he suffered a seizure. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was told he had between two to four years to live. “It was a terribly depressing and difficult time,” Brodsky said. “But a year later I ran the New York City marathon and at a certain point I felt like I would beat this thing.”
Running, Brodsky believes, is the reason he’s in such good health. To date, he has run 39 marathons and in Oct. 2012, he ran his fastest marathon in Hartford, Conn. in four hours and six minutes. “Before I turn 65, I’d like to run a marathon in under four hours,” said the 60-year-old. “But I think I’ll do it before 65.”