Ron Woodruff
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Ron Woodruff

Dallas Buyers Club

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About Him

Living… on borrowed time in 1980s Dallas. His doctor gave him 30 days to live when he diagnosed Ron with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Ron doubted there was anything that could kill him in 30 days. He was right.

Visiting... Mexico, to find alternative drugs to treat his HIV. His immune system is shot from the AZT he’s been taking. Now he has chronic pneumonia, along with a host of other medical problems. He’s been traveling, finding alternatives. Problem is, none of them are available in America. Soon, he’ll change that.

Profession… a former rodeo clown turned head of the Dallas Buyers Club – a group of AIDS patients that shares pharmaceuticals unavailable in the United States. Ron started the Dallas chapter, charging patients $400 to join. He saw that bureaucracy was a good business, so he decided to get in on the action himself. But he never expected to be partners (and then friends) with a transsexual like Rayon, or have a bunch of gay guys as clients.

Interests… circumventing the FDA testing process to get immediate access to potentially effective treatments. With his life on the line, there isn’t much time to worry about anything else.

Relationship Status... devastated by his diagnosis. Before he got HIV, he was onto a new woman every night. His friends considered him a sex addict. But since he only slept with women, he never thought he’d catch anything worse than the clap.

Challenge… staying alive, which for Ron means both overcoming bureaucratic obstacles to get effective drugs andovercoming his prejudices. An epidemic is sweeping the world and the FDA is sticking to its regular, painfully slow process of testing and more testing before approving anything new. So far the FDA has turned a blind eye to organizations like the Dallas Buyers Club. But at some point, the Buyers Club will get too big for its own good. The organization has to give help to as many patients as possible while still remaining underground. And that means Ron has thrown in his lot with other victims of his disease, who are mostly gay men. When you’re all fighting death together, it doesn’t seem to matter so much who likes to sleep with what.

Personality… rebellious and determined. When the doctor told him he only had a month to live, he took it more as a challenge than a death sentence. His life since his diagnosis has only increased in depth. His previous prejudices are slowly being wiped away by everything he’s been exposed to.

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