Above: Clipping from the Tennessean newspaper, Nashville, TN on Dec. 2, 1997:

Clarification

by Kev
Cofounder NHCC


December 1997 - Because
the NHCC was originally founded in the Nashville Tennessee area (known as "Nashville" Hepatitis C Coalition back then), we became accustomed to answering the frequently asked question of whether or not Naomi Judd was working with us.

I will say it here once and for all, that although she has been invited numerous times in the past to work with us and get involved with our organization and it's awareness events, NAOMI JUDD HAS NEVER WORKED WITH THE NATIONAL HEPATITIS C COALITION IN ANY CAPACITY AND HAS NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH ANY OF OUR OPERATIONS NOW.

This page has not been posted here to defame anyone, but instead to hopefully clear up any misconceptions about what really happened that evening on Dec. 1, 1997.


When I was first diagnosed with hep C in 1994, I didn't know a single person that had this disease except Naomi Judd (even though hers wasn't determined to actually be "C" until just a bit later). Being that we both lived in the Nashville area (at that time), and after seeing her numerous times at the church we both attended, I felt like it would be appropriate to write to her and ask for her help in organizing an event to raise money for the American Liver Foundation (which she was the national spokesperson for at that time - prior to the formation of the National Hepatitis C Coalition, Inc.). My letter was ignored.

I faxed a second similar letter to Ms. Judd after a period of time, thinking somehow maybe she didn't receive my first one. Again, no reply.

Then I wrote and faxed a third letter to tell her what I had discovered through my experimentation with herbs, to ask for advice, and to share "war stories" about the disease we shared. Ms. Judd has a habit of reminding the public that "she's just one of us", so I thought it would be completely appropriate to try to contact her. Strike three: for the third time, no reply.

FAST FORWARD TO NOVEMBER 1997 . . . . . .

Naomi Judd's name used to come up a lot during our online chats, and since my wife and I were living in the Nashville area back then, we were frequently asked why she wasn't doing more for the cause of hepatitis C (as if merely living in the Nashville area had anything to do with our ability to contact her!). Anyway, on one particular day I mentioned to those in the room that Naomi was scheduled to appear at a local book signing on December 1 of that year and some of our local members were thinking about joining with us to go see her. Our hope was that we might encourage Ms. Judd to speak out more about hepatitis C during her television appearances and to use more of her celebrity influence for the cause. The Nashville community had pretty much kept its collective head in the sand about hepatitis C in those days, and since Ms. Judd was the honorary spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation at the time, we didn't feel like our request was the least bit unreasonable.

The suggestion was made that we inform the online hepatitis community of our intended visit for those who might want to send a letter with us. We added a note to our website outlining our plan and it wasn't long before our e-mailbox started filling up. 

To make a long story short, we collected over 150 letters from online hep patients (nice letters too - mostly fan-type letters!!) asking Naomi to please speak out about hepatitis C in her television appearances rather than dodge opportunities to discuss it. My wife Patty and I took a handful of local members of the NHCC with us to the book signing, as well as the letters that I presented to Ms. Judd. The article above from the local paper as well as the National Enquirer copy below give their version of what transpired:

(In spite of the wording used below, no one "ripped" anyone in any way):

"National Enquirer" article - January 1998 (clipping)

And another article on the "incident"

FOR THE RECORD:
The NHCC later wrote to Ms. Judd expressing our regrets over her misinterpretation of our meeting and to once again invite her to join with us at our future awareness events.

We received a reply from her publicist acknowledging our letter but the invitation to work together was completely ignored.

We'd like to thank the Tennessean and the National Enquirer publications for permission to use these articles.

 

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Last Updated January 04, 2012