Ryan was so brave and strong. He turned
his negative into a positive by educating
the world about AIDS. He showed me that
AIDS is not prejudiced. It can infect children,
adults, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons
and daughters. It is not something that
only the bad, dirty, poor or ignorant get.
I will always remember him, his fight, his
family and what he taught me as a teenager.
I would have been honoured to have met him.
On December 6, 1971, Ryan Wayne White was
born. Three days later, doctors told his
parents that he was a hemophiliac. That
means his blood does not clot properly.
Luckily, there was a new product out that
had clotting agents in it. This product
was called Factor VIII. It was made from
blood. Ryan grew up having to have many
blood transfusionsand one of them
contained HIV. At 13, Ryan found out he
was HIV positive. He was given six months
to live. But he was a fighter.
He was determined to continue at his school
and live life normally. But in 1985 not
very much was known about AIDS. Ryan faced
a lot of discrimination. His school tried
to keep him from attending and the town
where he lived was not very supportive.
Students at his school spray-painted his
locker with the word fag and restaurants
threw his dishes away after he left. A bullet
was even fired into his home.
After that, he and his family moved to
Indiana and Ryan was happy again. He got
his learners permit, made new friends
and was doing talks around the country to
educate people about AIDS. There was a movie
made about him, entitled The Ryan White
Story. Ryan even got to be an actor
But on April 8, 1990, the world lost a
wonderful person. Ryan Whites example
and commitment to AIDS education made a
difference for us today.