Rose McGowan, formerly our favorite character on Charmed and as Cherry, a gun-wielding, zombie hunting goddess in Planet Terror, is a devote LGBTQ activist and feminist who has shined well deserved light onto Ruth Coker-Burks, an Arkansas woman who helped hundreds of gay men dying of AIDS in the 80s.
According to the Arkansas Times, Coker-Burks visited a hospital in 1984 where she was witnessed AIDS patients, before the virus was even given a name, being shunned by nurses.
“Burks, now 55, was 25 and a young mother when she went to University Hospital in Little Rock to help care for a friend who had cancer. Her friend eventually went through five surgeries, Burks said, so she spent a lot of time that year parked in hospitals. That's where she was the day she noticed the door, one with "a big, red bag" over it. It was a patient's room. "I would watch the nurses draw straws to see who would go in and check on him. It'd be: 'Best two out of three,' and then they'd say, 'Can we draw again?'”
Coker-Burks refused to allow these men to waste away without being given compassion.
“Whether because of curiosity or — as she believes today — some higher power moving her, Burks eventually disregarded the warnings on the red door and snuck into the room. In the bed was a skeletal young man, wasted to less than 100 pounds. He told her he wanted to see his mother before he died. Burks wrangled a number for the young man's mother out of one of the nurses, then called. She was only able to speak for a moment before the woman on the line hung up on her. Her son was a sinner, the woman told Burks. She didn't know what was wrong with him and didn't care. She wouldn't come, as he was already dead to her as far as she was concerned. There was nothing to tell him but the truth. I went back in his room," she said, "and when I walked in, he said, 'Oh, momma. I knew you'd come,' and then he lifted his hand. And what was I going to do? What was I going to do? So I took his hand. I said, 'I'm here, honey. I'm here.'"
Can we please give a round of applause to Coker-Burks and McGowan for bringing us this heart melting story. The cinematography is eerie, mundane, and whimsical all in one. I cannot recall the last time I’ve seen something so beautiful portrayed on screen. I anticipate typos within this article, because my eyes are still swollen with tears.
Thank you Ruth Coker-Burks and Rose McGowan!
Prepare yourself and watch the 8 minute video below. You won’t be the same afterwards.
This article originally appeared on Buzzfeed.