Friday, 4 December 2020

#BlogTour Ripples from the Edge of Life by Roland Chesters

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Ripples from the Edge of Life by Roland Chesters.

About the Author

Roland was born in the north of England to an English father and French mother and has lived most of his life in London after a somewhat rocky start in Paris. He graduated from the Royal Holloway College with a degree in Modern Languages way back in the last century, and after a variety of jobs in senior management in the private sector he joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as a language-testing specialist. 

Following a life-changing diagnosis of HIV and AIDS in 2006, he became a campaigner for disability rights. He subsequently enjoyed a number of different roles within the FCO as Diversity & Equality Officer and later Learning & Development Adviser, where he gained his L&D qualifications. There he was also elected Chair of the Disabled Staff Network and worked with the Civil Service Disability Network. He is now a self-employed Disability Development Consultant and has his own company, Luminate (

Roland is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and of the Chartered Institute of Management as well as the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning. He is a qualified Mediator and currently sits on the Standards for Disability Mediation Working Group of the College of Mediators.  He is also a Motivational Speaker and a member of the Professional Speaking Association.

As a Consultant he says he “works with the person in the wheelchair to enable them to climb their highest mountain”. He collaborates with individuals who have become disabled later in life, organisations that employ them or want to employ them and agencies that support them. As a speaker he focuses on his own personal experiences to enable his audiences to reflect on how to overcome the challenges that we all face in our lives to make the most of the short time that we have. His motto is ‘Inspire, Educate, Challenge’.

Roland lives with his partner, Richard, in London and enjoys opera, classical music, theatre and fashion (his favourite item of clothing being a bright red corduroy suit). He fights boredom and normality with gusto, and says he is at his best when he’s made a positive impact on someone else’s life. 

He is the author of the ‘Ripples from the Edge of Life’, which he says will be his one and only publication. The book was published by SilverWood Books in May 2018 and GScene said of it “None of us know how many heartbeats we have left; facing mortality is a culturally difficult thing. Ripples gives us clear clarion voice after voice which shows us, gently but insistently, there are many ways of successfully navigating horrific times, and surviving.”

With a foreword by Ian Green, CEO of the Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV charity, ’Ripples’ chronicles how he and thirteen others have managed their diagnosis of HIV and, in some cases AIDS, the impact this has had on their lives and the lives of those around them.  The year of diagnosis ranges from 1984 to 2015 and it becomes clear through that timeline that although HIV may no longer be a death sentence, the impact of the diagnosis can still be completely devastating.  The stories come from both men and women, aged between mid-twenties to late-seventies and are testaments to the courage and resilience required to cope with the condition. HIV has not gone away. With over 100,000 people living with the condition in the UK, and that number continuing to grow, it remains one of the most stigmatised disabilities in the world.

The appeal of the book lies not so much in the fact that it is HIV/AIDS that has impacted each of our lives, but that the lessons learned can be applied to anybody who is facing a life-changing diagnosis, or anybody who cares for someone in that position.

Follow Roland Chesters on Amazon, on GoodreadsBuy Ripples from the Edge of Life

About the book

If, out of the blue, you were given just two weeks to live, how would you feel? What would you do? How would you prepare for the end? This was the terrible position Roland Chesters found himself in when he was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.

Ripples is Roland’s account of a life-changing diagnosis and its impact on him and those closest to him. More than a memoir, Roland’s story is not unique; ripples spread outwards, and this empowering collection gives voice to thirteen others who have survived similar traumatic diagnoses. This book contains wisdom, hope, humour and inspiration in equal measure. It is an essential read for anyone living with a life-changing condition, and those who support them.


I recently read a YA with an HIV positive teen as the main character. Aside from the excellent story the author delved deeply into the issues of transmission and disclosure. The detailed descriptions of antiretrovirals and undetectable viral loads in said genre will do a lot to inform an educate younger generations. In general there just aren't enough books on the subject or characters who reflect the men, women and children in our society who live with HIV/AIDS.

Those of us who lived through the peak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic during the mid 80s, prior to the use of effective antiretroviral therapy, and were old enough to understand the stigma, fear and loss caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus - we know how misinformation formed the basis for the majority of attitudes.

It was and is still very much a misunderstood diagnosis. To an outsider the attitudes appear to be more informed and less likely to discriminate, however as an insider the actual truth of the matter is different, which is why books like this are so important. Real people telling their stories, something which is perhaps more likely to resonate than purely science and medical facts. Saying that, I believe a combination of both will help to educate and allay unnecessary fears.

This collection of stories, which includes the authors own story, is the right way to bring understanding to a long misunderstood topic. It's an impassioned and yet simultaneously an extremely clear and factual read, and one I highly recommend.

Buy Ripples from the Edge of Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Silverwood Books; pub date 27 April 2018. Buy at Amazon com. At HiveAt At Silverwood Books.

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