Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Ryan White. Vol. 3 of the "archive e-newsletter" is a tribute to Ryan's remarkable life. The attached scanned image from the "archive" is of the cover of 'People' magazine which featured an article on "The Last Days of Ryan White". I've also included some personal thoughts,some additional biographical text, and a few links to videos of his life on YouTube.
How many teenagers can say that they changed the world? Ryan White was born with severe hemophilia and contracted the AIDS virus from blood products used to treat his clotting disorder. While still a child, he confronted prejudice, bigotry, and irrational fear of the virus he carried. He was denied his right to attend school. Protesters regularly gathered outside his home. The White family was eventually forced to leave town after someone fired a bullet through the window of their family home. Ryan never complained about the illness that had befallen him and never succumbed to bitterness over the miserable treatment he received from many of his neighbors. Rather, he dedicated the brief years of his life to educating others about the realities of the AIDS virus. Eventually, he won the hearts and minds of millions of Americans and made the world a more bearable place for the few survivors who remain from the forgotten era of the hemophilia/AIDS "holocaust".
Please see:Michael Jackson tribute to Ryan White at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPYQ1-nXgmo Ryan White funeral w/ Elton John at www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9R7OXmrW8
The following is excerpted from ABC's 'Nightline', also in the "archive", which aired on 4/11/90 which contained parts of Ryan's funeral including these comments by the rev. Bud Probasco who delivered the eulogy. Video clips with various interviews of Ryan were interspersed throughout the eulogy footage.
Probasco: "Ryan was diagnosed with a little-understood disease called AIDS. Not much was known about the disease back then. There were few drugs at first, and very little information about the illness. So, very quickly, a great deal of fear permeated Ryan's community." Reporter: "Who's your best friend?" Ryan White: "I don't have one." Probasco: "The details of this struggle are well-documented, but what most people don't know is this; Ryan-there was not a person who knew Ryan that could ever hate him. People hated the disease that had taken over his body. Ryan White: "I understand they were scared, [sniffling] but they should have just listened to the facts." Reporter: "Mm,hmm- you understand?" Ryan White: "Yeah, 'cause you know, there's a lot of fear in it." Reporter: "But it doesn't make you angry or disgusted or...?" Ryan White: "Not really, no. They were just trying to protect their kids."*
Ryan White died at 7:11am on Palm Sunday, April 8th, 1990 at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis at the age of 18. Ryan's funeral was held on the 11th at 2nd Presbyeterian Church in Indianapolis. Pall bearers included Elton John, Phil Donahue, and Howie Long. Also in attendance were celebreties and dignitaries from around the world, including Michael Jackson and Barbara Bush. The funeral was carried live on CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC.*** ABC "Nightline", March 2, 1988 and April 11th, 1990, MPI home video. ** Ryan White Timeline, http://ryan-white.memory-of.com/Timeline.aspx