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Sir Elton John put on an amazing show last night -- of which I was a proud co-sponsor -- to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ryan White's passing.  There were many very emotional moments, not only in Elton's performance and his descriptions of his last moments with Ryan, but also in the remarkable comments made by Phil Donohue,  Jeannie White, and Judith Light (the actress who portrayed Jeannie White in the ABC TV movie, and most recently can be seen on Law & Order SUV as a judge).

Video-taped messages from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Orin Hatch emphasized the bipartisan nature of the successful efforts by the US Congress to reauthorize the Ryan White Care Act four times since 1992.  Photos of Jeannie standing beside Presidents Clinton and Obama as they signed the act into law were powerful reminders of what can be done if we work together. The Ryan White Care Act has helped millions of people, and remains an incredible legacy of this brave young man.

Ryan White almost single-handedly changed our nation's perception of AIDS and those who struggle with it in their own lives.  Tonight's celebration was both emotionally-charged and fantastically fun.  Thanks to the wonderful people at the world-renowned Children's Museum of Indianapolis for their Ryan White exhibit, and for working with Jeannie to bring Elton to Indianapolis for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Thanks, too, to Wayne Zink and Randy Deer for their support, and to all the people who came to support the museum and the Elton John AIDS Foundation (which matches funds to the Indiana AIDS Fund).

Finally, thanks to Sir Elton John for coming to Indianapolis to help celebrate the life of one of our nation's true heros. It was an amazing performance -- truly once-in-a-lifetime!

Photos: Jeannie White and me outside the VIP desert reception after the concert.  Some of my guests: Mark and Nancy Ruschman, John Pickett and Jeff Baker.

Read Amy Bartner's review of the event in the Indianapolis Star online.

See Indianapolis Star Photo Slideshow below.

 


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