Remembering Ryan White
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program was named for a courageous young man named Ryan White who was diagnosed with AIDS following a blood transfusion in December 1984. Ryan White was diagnosed at age 13 while living in Kokomo, Indiana and was given six months to live.
Ryan was born with hemophilia A, a rare, inherited disorder in which the blood system does not clot normally because of an inability to produce “factor 8,” a prosaically named protein related to this critical process. When a hemophiliac suffers a blunt or bruising injury to the body, internal bleeding often occurs, which causes damage to one’s organs and can be life-threatening. Of particular risk is bleeding within the knee, ankle and elbow joints, which can be severely damaged over time.
When Ryan White tried to return to school, he fought AIDS-related discrimination in his Indiana community. Along with his mother Jeanne White Ginder, Ryan White rallied for his right to attend school - gaining national attention - and became the face of public education about his disease.
Surprising his doctors, Ryan White lived five years longer than predicted. He died on April 8, 1990, one month before his high school graduation and only months before Congress passed the legislation bearing his name in August 1990 - the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act.
His mother, Jeanne White-Ginder was in Oklahoma City last year to share about the life of her son.
Today we celebrate one of the great heroes in the war against AIDS: a quiet, unassuming and brave young man named Ryan White. He was only 18 when he died of the disease.
Despite being dealt two bad hands — hemophilia and becoming infected with HIV from the very treatment used to treat his blood disorder — Ryan White made a lasting and noble difference in the world.
More about the life of Ryan White here.
The Gayly. April 8, 2018. 10:34 a.m. CST.