Ryan White

by John from Greensburg

When I think of determination, I think of Ryan White. His determination made him one of the most special people in history. How could one boy who didn’t have that much time on earth have so much of an impact on the world? He once discussed his life with AIDS to a group at the National Educators Association’s Annual Meeting and said, “Help me beat the odds and together let’s educate and save the children of tomorrow.” He was determined to make a difference.

Ryan White was born on December 6, 1971 in Kokomo, Indiana. His mother was Jeanne Elaine White. His father was Hubert Wayne White. Ryan became a big brother to a sister named Andrea White. She was born two years after Ryan. Ryan's parents were eventually divorced.

When Ryan was less than a week old, he was diagnosed with severe hemophilia. This diagnosis means that his blood didn’t clot. There was hope for little Ryan though. There was a new blood-clotting medicine available called Factorate. Ryan had to be injected with the medicine twice a week. Even with Factorate, life was not easy for Ryan because of internal bleeding in his joints and frequent trips to the hospital. Factorate was supposed to be a blessing, but it was also a curse.

When he was thirteen years old, Ryan found out he had AIDS. The disease was discovered while Ryan was having surgery to take out part of his left lung due to pneumonia. It is believed he got the HIV virus through an infected batch of Factorate. Factorate is made from blood and blood transfusions are one of the ways HIV can spread. After hearing this news, his doctors told him he would only live about six more months.

Ryan did more than live for six months. He lived for five more years and educated the whole world about AIDS during this time. Ryan was not able to go to school in his hometown because they were unwilling to learn about AIDS and his family eventually moved. They found new friends and a new life in a new town called Cicerco in Indiana. The people of the town took the time to learn about AIDS, starting with students first. Instead of being shunned, he was welcomed. He was first welcomed to the town by Wendy Baker. One of Ryan’s other new friends, Jill Stewart, drove Ryan to school everyday. Ryan also found new friends outside of Cicerco. Elton John and Michael Jackson became very close friends to Ryan and his family.

Ryan died on Palm Sunday, April 8, 1990 at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis. He was only eighteen years old. Before Ryan died, he was able to address both the National Commission on AIDS and the National Education Association. He discussed what his life was like with AIDS. Ryan also discussed how AIDS education had helped him and how it could help in the future. Even though Ryan White is now gone, his hopes and deeds live on. The Ryan White CARE Act helps thousands of HIV/AIDS patients with healthcare and support services. The Ryan White Youth Conference on HIV and AIDS focuses on HIV prevention for youth and the support of youth who have HIV or AIDS.

Ryan White is one of my role models. He inspires me because he was a fighter and a good person. He never wanted to be well-known. He just wanted to be normal. He used the attention that he received to educate the world about HIV and AIDS, not just about himself. He also showed a good example of how to treat others. He forgave people who treated him badly instead of responding with hatred. These reasons are why Ryan White is my hero. These reasons are why his legacy still lives on.I hope that you enjoyed reading these facts and thoughts on Ryan White. I hope this essay has shown you who Ryan White was and how much determination he had. I also hope it has shown you what his life was like and how he should be remembered. Ryan White was really incredible, wasn’t he? He is still giving hope to many people.

Page created on 1/21/2009 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 12/5/2019 12:22:14 PM

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Ryan White - Information about Ryan, his life & legacy