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July 29, 2001

TRACY'S CHOICES
A unique documentary video about Tracy Eichman, the first person in the State of Illinois to be arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison for the attempted criminal transmission of HIV.

By Dan Wooding

ROCKFORD, IL (ANS) - Tracy Eichman was the first person in the State of Illinois to be arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison for the attempted criminal transmission of HIV.  Now dead, she "speaks" movingly through TRACY'S CHOICES, a unique 35-minute documentary aimed at young people, in which she tells what can happen when young people make poor choices in their lives.

Released by M V P Productions of Rockford, Illinois, the documentary tells how Tracy grew up in Rockford, Illinois and made choices early in her life that would have a direct effect on her life in the future.

We learn that she quit school in Rockford, Illinois, and took to a life on the street in order to earn money for her growing drug habit. Her life was transformed, however, when Lt. Jim Mays arrested Tracy in a prostitution "sting" operation. Lt. Mays, a Christian police officer who plays a key role in the documentary, was instrumental in Tracy's decision to put her faith and trust in Jesus Christ. As a result, her life completely changed.

However, the years of substance abuse, and the complications from HIV infection were taking their toll. The Governor of Illinois granted Tracy a full pardon so that she could return home to die. But she didn't die immediately, and Tracy used her last months to reach out to young people and many of her thoughts are captured in this documentary.

On one occasion, she said, "It's going to sound pretty redundant, but do not do drugs. Drugs are not the answer; alcohol is not the answer. AIDS is very real [so] don't have premarital sex, be monogamous, get married. The rise of teenagers being infected now is astronomical. They're going up faster than any other group, and you can't tell by people's looks or how healthy they look or anything. We're living in a very precarious and very dangerous time."
(Pictured: Arrest photos).

Max Anderson, who produced the video in 1997 -- it is still very relevant today -- said, "Lt. Mays is a close friend of mine.  In fact, we are in the same Sunday School class.  It was our church that got behind Tracy, and tried to help her.

"As she neared the end of her life, and after all she had been through, it was the desire of her heart to reach out to as many people who would listen, and try to help them avoid the mistakes she had made.  If just one life could be changed, then Tracy felt it would be worth the effort.  "This is how we too entered into the production of TRACY'S CHOICES."
(Pictured: Tracy in prison being interviewed for the story).

He added, "The secular world doesn't want to hear the spiritual message, and the church doesn't want to admit that people with AIDS even exist, let alone that there might be any in their congregation.

"So I continue on.  I first suspected that TRACYS' CHOICES might be about five years ahead of its time.  Now I'm think it might be more like 20."

Having just viewed TRACY'S CHOICES, I believe that is a documentary that should be shown to every church youth group.  The reason is that the central theme of TRACY'S CHOICES for teenagers is, "You are responsible for you. The choices you make in you life will have a direct impact on who and what you will become."

Note: The video is 35 minutes in length with a purchase price of $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling. To get a copy, contact:
M V P Productions
P O Box 4126
Rockford, Illinois 61110
(815) 877-1514
Email: Mander8813@aol.com.
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Note: To get pictures to illustrate this story, please e-mail Max Anderson at Mander8813@aol.com.

** You may use this story with proper attribution.

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