HEP Hero Kamarra Bell-Wykes

October 11, 2018

Kamarra Bell-Wykes

Creative Director of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, Playwright and Director

I have advocated for understanding around the lived experience of the virus and smashing related stigma in the Indigenous community over the last 15 years through the works Chopped Liver, Body Armour and Viral -are you the cure?

I am a Jagera/Butchulla woman from South-Eastern Queensland.

I am currently the Creative Director of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company and a playwright and director.

I contracted hepatitis C when I was 15 (in 1995) through shared IV use. I struggled with my Hep C status for 20 years while simultaneously writing the hepatitis C related works through ILBIJERRI.

I successfully cleared the virus in 2010 and finally felt empowered to openly discuss my status and begin using my personal experience as a tool of advocacy.

Hepatitis C is not an individual virus – it impacts our whole community as a whole and as long as the virus remains a dirty secret and something shrouded in stigma we will not be able to seek the healing we all need.

Kamarra’s message to others…

The power for change starts with us and the facts are simple; hepatitis C is a serious virus and it can kill you. Treatment is available; it’s safe and free. The only thing that can keep hepatitis C viral is us and how we view it. We need to overcome it, instead of using it as a weapon of judgment and shame. – Quote from VIRAL- Are you the Cure? by Maryanne Sam

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