I never knew Ryan White while he lived but like so many who have come to learn of his life in the years following his death I am committed to celebrate and promote his mission.
Ryan White died at age eighteen, a time when the average person is expecting to just begin living—the sky is the limit in early adulthood. But Ryan never had this luxury.
It seems his life was meant to be lived for humanity’s moral education and edification. Ryan White was a born haemophiliac who eventually picked up the HIV/AIDS virus when he was just age 13 back in 1984.
Because the disease was new and therefore unknown at the time, Ryan was unfortunately subjected to gross resentment, isolation, hatred and prejudice because of his innocently positive status.
Even within the walls of his church was this young champion of human rights being victimized and made a pariah.
But I am so very glad that this often lonely teenager never gave up on trying to make the world a better place for all people, regardless of their health condition.
Eventually, Ryan became a national spokesperson on and for AIDS in the renowned United States of America. Along the way, he made several high-profile friends including entertainers, movie stars and politicians.
Ryan White never asked to be made a famous person; he just wanted a normal life for himself, his sister and mother. But he taught the world how to face crises with daily hope and perseverance.
If you have not yet read Ryan White’s autobiography you do need to get a copy like since yesterday. I guarantee you that it is a book that will positively impact your life and enable you to value your own existence and that of your fellow men with new understanding purpose.
We all would have wished for Ryan White to be alive today. We all miss him so very much. We all feel badly not being able to be there with him as he faced his final illness.
That is why each one of us who get to know how and why Ryan White lived and died must now pledge to keep the flame of his life burning brightly.
It is a torch we must pass on to upcoming generations.
Ryan never got to enjoy many of the simple pleasures and happiness that should precipitate the life of a teenager. In his book, My Own Story, Ryan explains how it was even challenging getting a date and finding a girlfriend. Most teenagers today will find it incomprehensible to think of dying when they have not even had a girlfriend or had sex.
Throughout his struggles and travels, Ryan kept pushing for the public’s acceptance of people with AIDS, who were just as scared and confused as those without the killer disease.
So even being expelled from school, being victim of vampire-like rumours and having a bullet penetrate his home window, Ryan White refused to keep quiet and disappear from life just because many people thought he was not fit to be among them.