Monday, December 6, 2010

In Memory of Ryan White

Today we celebrate the life of Ryan White, an American AIDS activist who sadly passed away from the disease in 1990.

Ryan was born on December 6, 1971 and lived in a quiet town in the middle of Indiana. He became infected with HIV after receiving an infected blood treatment because of his condition as a hemophiliac. Originally diagnosed in December 1984, he was given six months to live. He rallied however and lived until April 8, 1990. Ryan became the poster child for a disease that wasn't well understood. After his diagnosis, Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in the school district wanted to restrict his access. Through his struggles, he became somewhat of a celebrity appearing on television and in interviews about AIDS. He even became close friends with Sir Elton John.

Today we celebrate his life and his message. For an open letter Elton John wrote to Ryan White in April 2010 that originally appeared in the Washington Post, please click here.

For more information on the life of Ryan White and current information on HIV and AIDS, please contact your local library. The books below are currently available at L.D.R.L.

"Access to Life: Magnum" (2009)
"Eight Magnum photographers portray people in nine countries around the world before and four months after they began antiretroviral treatment for AIDS"--Access to Life website.

"AIDS: Ten Stories of Courage" by Doreen Gonzalez (1996)
Presents the stories of ten people who have been infected with AIDS, including Ryan White, Elizabeth Glaser, and Arthur Ashe.

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