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Ryan White 20 years later

May 5, 2010

Today as I sit at work in between patients I was contemplating about something prolific to write today. I stumbled across a letter on Facebook that was posted by The Well Project.  It was a letter that Elton John wrote to Ryan White, 20 years after Ryan’s death. Ryan died at the age of 18, on April 8, 1990. He would have been 38 years old this year. It really makes me think about the first time I saw him interviewed. It was on the Phil Donohue show and I was fascinated by this poor kid’s story. I was amazed how he was so young and ill, yet seemed so mature. I was about 2 years older than he was at the time of his interview. The day I was diagnosed all could think about was how sick he was & how horrible everyone treated him. He was and is an inspiration to me. I wish I could thank him, if it weren’t for him and people like him that battled this disease before me, I wouldn’t be here today.

Dear Ryan,

Because of you there is the Ryan White Program is the single largest federal program designed specifically for people with HIV in the United States. Without the services your foundation provides thousands of people couldn’t afford their medications, counseling services and supportive care. You were so young and accomplished so much. Thank you for giving me the ability to be a wife, mother and friend. Without your sacrifice there wouldn’t be the funding to provide these services to so many of us. You could have disappeared into the background, dealt with your illness in private. You didn’t have to be the one, the one to come out and educate a country about the unnecessary fears of HIV. You were and still are the voice of millions of us living with HIV.

Thank you for being brave enough for all of us.


It took a child to die to make people sit up and notice ~ Elton John

2 Comments leave one →
  1. WANJIRU permalink
    June 22, 2010 5:30 am

    hallo,life has been a bit tough for me for the last 9yrs that i have known that am positive.Am a single mother and my biggest challenge has been keeping a secret from my 2 children who see me take medication on a daily basis without getting better.Never shared this info with any person,i even wonder what would happen if i just fell sick oneday.My prayer is that its not going to happen soon and i will be able to see my children grow up.I have found myself very lonely days and even wish for a man to share my life with.Am only living fo my children and i thank God for the days that HE has given me.

  2. Jae permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:55 am

    Your children are blessed each and every day, because you are there. Do you plan to tell them? If not that is your right. Kids will surprise you with what they can handle.

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