Laura M. Cottrell
Laura M. Cottrell, age 60, of Wilmington, DE, passed away on Thursday, July 12, 2012.
Laura Cottrell spent the last 10 years of her life engaged in educating others about HIV and AIDS, and helping those living with HIV and AIDS improve the quality of their lives. In conjunction with the Delaware HIV Consortium, Laura became a Peer Educator with Christiana Care Health Systems Community Program in Wilmington, Delaware. Laura had varied duties in her job that included administrative assistance, giving advice and support to patients, helping patient’s communicate with their providers and showing them how to better live with and adjust to life with a chronic illness. In this role, Laura was a frequent speaker to student groups at the University of Delaware and West Chester University. She spoke before an audience of 200 at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution, sharing her own story of struggle and providing hope and inspiration to thousands over the years. Laura helped to educate a generation of nursing students, medical students and resident’s rotating through the infectious disease department at the Christiana Care Community Program, Wilmington Site. Laura put a human face on a disease that most were trying to keep secret.
Laura was an advocate for many different vulnerable groups, and had a special heart for helping young woman and those struggling with substance use. Laura was involved with, and provided a vital linkage between various community groups. At the time of her death, Laura was serving as a Member of The Board of Trusties at the Delaware HIV Consortium. She worked with, and was a founding member of “Karen’s Dream Girls” support group for woman, part of the Beautiful Gate Outreach Center and Bethel AME Church. Laura participated frequently in support groups including the Community Programs Patient Advocacy Group and “Team 95” woman’s group. She was also involved with Woman’s Space, and many other community and advocacy groups too numerous to mention.
Laura’s work and unmatched honesty and courage will be remembered in the hearts of all those she touched in this life. Her legacy would not be complete however without mentioning how very much Laura loved her children, grandchildren, and partner. She spoke of them often with pride and fondness. In a short time, she succeeded in her goal of giving back to others, more then she took.
A memorial service will be held Friday, July 27, 2012, at 2 pm at the Beautiful Gate Bethel Church, 604 N. Walnut Street, Wilmington.