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My Heroes
Ryan White

Courageous Kid

(C) Lee Hammond

First hemophilia, then AIDS

Ryan White tired to be normal. First, he was born with the genetically devastating disease, hemophilia. Missing the Factor VII, Ryan was susceptible toward bleeding to death.

Worse, in 1984, he contracted the HIV from a blood donation. Ryan found out that as bad as the virus was, human beings were worse. The public did not understand what AIDS was, and their ignorance led his family out of the idyllic Kokomo IN.
As Ryan wrote in his autobiography, "I faced death at 13." Ryan also shattered the common misconception of AIDS. Unfortunately, it would take another death to shatter the misconception of homosexuality some eight years later after Ryan died in another community on the other side of the Midwest.

Ryan White: His Story

A film reel; Actual size=240 pixels wide

The Ryan White Foundation went under in late 1999, but Ryan's fame has not diminished.