My name is Ryan White. I am sixteen years old. I have hemophilia, and I have AIDS.
Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me.
I received thousands of letters of support from all around the world, all because I wanted to go to school.
I believe in myself as I look forward to graduating from Hamilton Heights High School in 1991.
How could these people in the public eye not be afraid of me, but my whole town was?
This brought on the news media, TV crews, interviews, and numerous public appearances.
Financial hardships were rough on us, even though Mom had a good job at G.M.
Rumors of sneezing, kissing, tears, sweat, and saliva spreading AIDS caused people to panic.
I came face to face with death at thirteen years old.
I'm just one of the kids, and all because the students at Hamilton Heights High School listened to the facts, educated their parents and themselves, and believed in me.
My studies are important to me. I made the honor role just recently, with 2 A's and 2 B's.
On December 17, 1984, I had surgery to remove two inches of my left lung due to pneumonia. After two hours of surgery the doctors told my mother I had AIDS.
People would get up and leave so they would not have to sit anywhere near me.
The first five to six years of my life were spent in and out of the hospital.
The school I was going to said they had no guidelines for a person with AIDS.
Twice a week I would receive injections or IV's of Factor VIII which clotted the blood and then broke it down.
I was labeled a troublemaker, my mom an unfit mother, and I was not welcome anywhere.
Mayor Koch, of New York, was the first public figure to give me support.
Most recently my battle has been against AIDS and the discrimination surrounding it.
I spent Christmas and the next thirty days in the hospital,
Given six months to live and being the fighter that I am, I set high goals for myself.
Eventually, I won the right to attend school, but the prejudice was still there.
Entertainers, athletes, and stars started giving me support.
A lot of my time was spent searching, thinking and planning my life.
AIDS can destroy a family if you let it, but luckily for my sister and me, Mom taught us to keep going. Don't give up, be proud of who you are, and never feel sorry for yourself.
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