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Janet Conners, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter and HIV/AIDS activist passed away in the Sydney
Regional Hospital’s Palliative Care Unit on Aug 20, 2022.
She was a much-loved daughter of Donald and Irene Pritchard. Janet was born on January 4, 1956 in
Vancouver BC where she spent her early childhood before the family moved to Yellowknife in the North
West Territories. As a young woman, Janet moved to Nelson BC where she worked for the BC Ministry
of Forestry. It was in Nelson where she met and married her first husband and biological father of her
son, Robert Angus Donald (Gus).
Janet and Gus move to Nova Scotia in 1981 to be closer to her family. In 1984, Janet met Randy Conners.
They were married in 1987 and Randy adopted Gus.
Randy was a hemophiliac and in 1985 learned he had been infected with HIV through the tainted blood
product he required to control his disease. Janet was secondarily infected and tested positive for HIV in
1989. Angry that our health system and the Red Cross could let this happen to people, and fearful of the
prospect of Gus being left an orphan, they decided to go to the media and tell their story. At that time,
the provinces were not compensating Canadians who had been infected with HIV. Janet and Randy
fought against this. They met three times with the then Nova Scotia Minister of Health, George Moody.
Mr. Moody decided that Nova Scotia would provide compensation. Janet, Randy and George Moody
formed a warm and lasting friendship through this experience. Mr. Moody has always said all he did
was listen to them. As a family, we would like to thank Mr. Moody for his warmth and compassion.
Janet and Randy continued to advocate for those who were infected with HIV through tainted blood in
other provinces. They met other HIV infected people; they met lawyers who were leading class action
law suits, such as Doug Elliott, Dawna Ring, and Bill Selnes to mention a few. This advocacy led to the
federal government and two provinces establishing the Krever Inquiry, a Royal Commission to examine
the tainted blood issue. The result of this led to the establishment of a new blood collection agency in
Janet’s advocacy was acknowledged in various ways. She was awarded honorary doctorates from three
universities, she was the recipient of the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal and served on
many government and HIV/AIDS community boards to name just a few.
Janet was a dedicated and tireless advocate but her first and most enduring love was to her son Gus and
her three grandchildren: Gauis, Loxley and Loupin. Her recent move to Cape Breton was so that she
could be closer to them.
Janet came from a big and boisterous family. She was the third of six children. She was a much loved
little and big sister. Janet is predeceased by her mother and father Don and Irene, her younger brother
Don (Brenda) and by her husband Randy. She is survived by her son Gus and his children, her four
remaining siblings: Ross (Marion), Lois (Tom), Norma (Peter) and Ruth, her sister-in-law Brenda as well
as many nieces and nephews.
Our father use to tell us that one benefit of having so many siblings was that we never had to fight
alone. Sadly, her fight with cancer was not something we could battle with or for her. Janet will be deeply
missed by her family. And we know she will be missed by the many people whom she touched.
The family would like to thank her friends who were with her in the last days of her life: J.J Fasan, Donna
Davis-Garden, Trudy Trailer Parsons and Jean McQueen.
We can’t express how grateful we are to you. Please accept our condolences for your loss.
In lieu of flowers please feel free to make a donation in her name to the IWK children’s hospital in
Halifax or to an HIV/AIDS service organization of your choice.
To send condolences to the family please visit www.foresthaven.ca
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