From his home in rural central Indiana, Ryan White, perhaps more than anyone else, helped change minds, opinions and the public perception of HIV/AIDS during some of the epidemic's darkest hours. During his amazing life's journey, with its gripping and dramatic story, Ryan attracted many famous friends -- among them Sir Elton John.

When Ryan passed away, he was surrounded by his family as well as Elton John. His funeral was attended by over 1500 people, a clear testament to the countless lives touched by his own short life.

Shortly after his death the United States Congress enacted the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act  (Ryan White CARE Act) -- which is the nation's largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Ryan White care act helps provide treatment for nearly half a million people every year, including right here in Indiana.

In an amazing tribute to his life and legacy, in 2007 the world-renowned Children's Museum of Indianapolis opened "The Power of Children: Making a Difference" gallery, which has continued to introduce new generations to Ryan's quiet heroism in the face of horrendous discrimination. (Click here to learn more about this stunning exhibition featuring Ryan White, Anne Frank and Ruby Bridges.)

Now, 20 years after his passing, we gather to honor Ryan's legacy with an amazing musical tribute by Sir Elton John.

As a proud sponsor of this extraordinary event, I hope you'll join me on April 28th, at Clowes Memorial Hall, located on the NCAA-Champions' Butler University campus, for this special benefit performance. Tickets are on sale now and are available at $150, $250, and $350 price levels. A very special VIP Package is also available for $500 per person (See graphic below for details of this special package). Seating for this event is limited. Purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com or call 1 (800) 982-2787. Tickets are also available in person at the Clowes Memorial Hall Box Office. You can also order from the Children's Museum website, here.

I want to take a moment to personally thank Jeannie White for her courage and perseverance, and for everything she, Andrea and Ryan did to help change the world's perception of HIV/AIDS.

"We owe it to Ryan to make sure that the fear and ignorance that chased him from his home and his school will be eliminated. We owe it to Ryan to open our hearts and our minds to those with AIDS. We owe it to Ryan to be compassionate, caring and tolerant toward those with AIDS, their families and friends. It's the disease that's frightening, not the people who have it." —Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, April 11, 1990

And finally, if you are not able to join us on April 28th for this special benefit performance, I hope you'll consider making a contribution to the Damien Center, Indiana's largest HIV/AIDS service organization, which is widely recognized nationally for its leadership and innovation in care and prevention programs. This can easily and quickly be done on the Damien Center's website, right now, by clicking here. You can specifically help prevent the spread of the virus, by earmarking your contribution for the "Joseph F. Miller Center for HIV Testing & Prevention"--just check the box in the popup window.

I hope to see you at Clowes Hall on April 28th!

Photo above:Taro Yamasaki, which accompanied his powerful essay on Ryan White in PEOPLE Magazine. Click here to read this famous essay.

PEOPLE Magazine Article, April 23, 1990:"The moving and untold story of the final hours of Ryan White, the boy whose battle with AIDS touched America's heart."

PEOPLE Magazine article, May 30, 1988:"The Quiet Victories of Ryan White. Despite contracting AIDS at age 12, Ryan White courageously lives life after finding refuge and friendship in a small town with a heart."

Images below: Click to enlarge. Invitation, Special VIP Package, Ryan's Scrap Book pages, Sir Elton John and Ryan White, Joseph F Miller Center for HIV Testing & Prevention

Video 1 below: History Uncut:In this clip from "History Uncut", Ryan White describes his experience returning to school after being diagnosed with AIDS. The history Channel website. Available from: http://WWW.history.com/videos/history-uncut-Ryan-white-1986

Video 2 below: CBS WISH TV Indianapolis, interview with Jeanne White, Ryan's mother, as she talks about Elton John and the upcoming special tribute to Ryan.

Video 3 below: Press Conference withJeanne White Ginder, Ryan's mother, and Children's Museum president and CEO Dr. Jeff Patchen, speaking to the media about the celebration of Ryan White's life and legacy, which will occur at Clowes Hall on April 28.

04/16/2010 3:40am

Moving post Joe!

I remember when Ryan White was going through all that pain and suffering. It was a dark chapter in Indiana's history.

But, as you remind us, his life had real meaning and changed minds.

Keep up the great posts!


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