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GOING BACK HELPS MOTHER WITH AIDS GO ON

Doctors gave Tracy Gibson of Saugus six months to live after she was diagnosed with AIDS. That was more than two years ago.

She survives on proper rest, medication, nourishment, exercise - and the desire to create lasting memories for her two children, one of whom has the AIDS virus."The doctors claim that what is keeping me going is my attitude, that I have a willingness to live for my kids," said the 34-year-old former preschool administrator. "I want them to know where I'm from and what I've done so that they can live their lives knowing who their mother was."

Now caregivers and other do-gooders are granting Gibson what might be a final wish to retrace her roots with her family.

On Thursday, Gibson, her husband, Chris, 44, and their two children, Tyler, 5, and Alexis, 4, will fly to her hometown of Ringwood, N.J., courtesy of a private fund administered through the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center, where Alexis is a patient. Ringwood residents are planning a Labor Day weekend homecoming and reunion.

The gift of the all-expense eight-day trip, valued at more than $3,500, comes at a time when the financially strapped family needed it most, said Chris Gibson, who was laid off in June from his managerial position at a retail carpet chain.

"It's a chance for my wife to fulfill her dream of returning home," he said. "I was flabbergasted. I thought it was super nice.

"I've never known a woman with as much inner-strength as she has. Her willpower and determination are over and beyond. And this vacation may help her pull through even further."

Tracy Gibson couldn't agree more.

"Perhaps there is no cure, but there is a lot of love and that's what gives us the strength to go on," she said.