- Editor's note: This is the third of a 10-part series of articles looking back at the Geneva newsmakers of 2012. The No. 1 newsmaker will be Geneva Patch's 2012 "Person of the Year.
Todd Searcy made a lot of headlines as a football player at Geneva High School in the early '80s and more still as a linebacker for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini.
But the headlines he made in 2012 weren't about the battles in the backfield or on the line of scrimmage. They were about the hard struggles of being a gay athlete growing up in Geneva, his life-and-death battle against AIDS-related illnesses and his day-to-day challenges with serious, ongoing health issues.
In 2010, Searcy was named to the Geneva High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Two years later, he made the courageous decision to tell his story to freelance writer Martha Quetsch, who wrote a three-part series of stories, published on Geneva Patch, called "A Gay Athletes Journey."
In that series, Searcy talks about how he kept his sexuality a secret through high school and how he led a kind of "dual life" in college, when he knew any admittance could cost him his scholarship.
Searcy found out in 2003 that he had contracted the human immunodeficiency virus. He had in fact been living with the virus for years, but was unaware in part because tests he'd previously taken had come up negative.
The subsequent treatments were excruciating, and his health sitaution ultimately cost Searcy his very lucrative job selling accounting software and hardware. Through it all, Searcy found ways to cope, by learning all he could about the disease, by taking up painting and by renewing old friendships.
The first installment of the series was among the top 30 most-read Geneva Patch articles of 2012, and ultimately, is a story of courage and hope. Jim Buzinski, who writes a blog for Outsports, spotted the story series and describes it as well worth reading.
"His story ... follows the trajectory of many gay athletes who fear the worst if people knew about his sexual orientation; Searcy, it seems, has finally found acceptance."
- A Gay Athlete’s Journey: The Difficult, 'Dual Life' of Geneva's Todd Searcy
- A Gay Athlete’s Journey: Todd Searcy's Decision to 'Come Out'
- A Gay Athlete's Journey: Todd Searcy Tackles AIDS
- You Pick Geneva's Greatest Athletes
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 10: Jenny McCarthy
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 9: Pam Broviak
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 8: Todd Searcy
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 7: Steve LeMaire
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 6: Kevin Burns
- Geneva Newsmakers of 2012—No. 5: Nicole Wiesner
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 4: Joe Stanton
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 3: Bob McQuillan
- Geneva Newsmakers Countdown 2012—No. 2: Carol Young
- Geneva Patch Person of the Year 2012: Mark Grosso
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