General Mills Employee Carries on Brother’s Legacy
Michelle Meade, a field selling assistant at General Mills, has done things that most people could not fathom.
She’s helped test the blood of mothers and children in Zambia, Africa, who may be HIV positive.
Meade began working with communities in Zambia after her brother, Dr. Tim Meade, founded Tiny Tim & Friends (TTF), an organization working toward zero transmission by providing high quality treatment, care and support to HIV positive children, adolescents and pregnant women in Zambia.
“It has been incredible to watch this grassroots effort my brother started in a tiny room at his clinic grow into having our own building with a small staff of dedicated, compassionate people who have become our family over the years,” says Meade.
Her brother, Tim, started the organization after moving from Russia to Zambia where he served as a medical director of a large family practice. He saw a need for specialist pediatric HIV services in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia.
Over the course of 12 years, he provided care to children, adolescents and pregnant women, and built a team of medical specialists who developed programs to support the social and psychological needs of those patients.
Since TTF opened its doors in 2003, Michelle Meade has served on the board of directors and travels to Africa as often as she can to provide hands-on work with women and children.
Sadly, Tim Meade died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2016 at the age of 56. Through their grief, her family decided to keep Dr. Meade’s dream alive: To keep helping HIV positive children through TTF.
Through fundraising and volunteer support, the family can keep the clinic going to help hundreds of people every year.
Recently, Meade traveled to Zambia to volunteer with a team of staff and local volunteers where they tested approximately 300 children.
Less than 10% tested positive for HIV.
“My brother used to say, ‘With every patient lost, there has to be a lesson learned. Without learning anything from a loss, we cannot grow or move forward. By learning from loss, we (Tiny Tim & Friends) can become a better organization and better people.’”
For her efforts, Meade received a certificate of merit, a medal and a $500 grant from the General Mills Foundation, which was donated to Tiny Tim & Friends.
“When we heard about Michelle’s social impact story, we immediately wanted to give her a Global Volunteer Award for her amazing dedication to help people in Zambia,” says Minn Wang, senior manager with the General Mills Foundation.
“You don’t need money to help a cause,” says Meade. “There is always something you can do no matter how small or regardless of where you live. Time is the most precious thing you can give – and you get back so much more.”