Vaughn Ripley

Vaughn Ripley, of Brunswick, who has hemophilia and contracted HIV and hepatitis C from a blood transfusion, is hoping to be voted onto the cover of Mens Health Magazine. 

BRUNSWICK — Vaughn Ripley is headed toward another milestone on his lifelong journey surviving three often fatal conditions.

He has shared and written about surviving hemophilia and the HIV and hepatitis C infections he contracted from blood transfusions. Those deadly conditions are little more than a footnote to his health and fitness regimen, even if they inspire him to keep it up.

He works out six days a week, lifts weights, follows a healthy diet and works with homeopathic treatments. Now, his uber healthy life, including its challenges, make him material for a “Men's Health” magazine celebrity.

The magazine is running a contest to let the public vote for a regular, non-model, to grace the magazine's November cover. Ripley and other entrants who see themselves as physically fit, confident, stylish and career driven, sent their stories and photos to the magazine to become contenders.

Entrants answer questions to describe themselves to voters: How do you stay fit and healthy? Why is it important to you? How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? How has that lifestyle helped you overcome challenges in your life? How do you give back to your community/friends/family? How do you measure success? Have you achieved it?

Those questions allowed Ripley to discuss his daily workout routines, his T'ai Chi and meditation for mental balance, his relationship with his children and his wife, whom he described as “his best friend and soul mate.”

As for success, he chalked that up to “Sticking to your moral compass and achieving your dreams.”

At the end of April, Ripley was leading the pack of 20 in overall scores. Contest standings are available at http://www.mhguysearch.com/leaderboard.

Judges will select semifinalists based on community voting, which will be open through July 28. Voting ranks each entrant in four categories: most physically fit, healthiest lifestyle, most giving and most successful.

Ripley hopes his participation will raise awareness about hemophilia, hepatitis and HIV.

“There's never been a hemophiliac on the cover,” he said. “I thought it would be cool.”

He turned 47 in April, far exceeding the 11-year life expectancy that was the norm for hemophiliacs in the 1970s, he said. New blood products at that time changed their prognoses for the better, and then contaminated blood products in the 1980s set them back again.

In the 1990s, Ripley said many hemophiliacs died as a result of infections contracted from blood transfusions that spread HIV and hepatitis. He has had HIV for 28 years, and had hepatitis C before that.

He has been free of hepatitis for 10 years. An experimental treatment that last 10 months cured him of the difficult disease, he said.

“It was unbelievable,” he said.

He figured the “Men's Health” contest might generate some publicity that could help inspire others who have any of his conditions, and inform the public that they do not have to live in terror of the diseases. He felt their fear when it became known that he had HIV.

His family received death threats and threats against their property, he said.

With a regimen of exercise, diet and positive attitude, he believes he has staved off an early death.

“I want to stand tall,” he said. “I want to be inspirational.”

Follow Patti S. Borda on Twitter: @FNP_Patti

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(3) comments

catcher

Unfortunately, Mr. Ripley forgot to wear his cape when Mr. Cullen took the picture. Well, there's always Photoshop.

catcher

I decided not to compete this year just to give all you also-rans a break.

Comment deleted.
kingesquivel

He looks fine to me.

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