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.
The desire to move into a bigger house, to avoid living AIDS daily, and a dream to be accepted by a community and school, became possible and a reality with a movie about my life, The Ryan White Story.
Most recently my battle has been against AIDS and the discrimination surrounding it.
This brought on the news media, TV crews, interviews, and numerous public appearances.
Listening to medical facts was not enough. People wanted one hundred percent guarantees.
People would get up and leave so they would not have to sit anywhere near me.
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.
Financial hardships were rough on us, even though Mom had a good job at G.M.
I spent Christmas and the next thirty days in the hospital,
I received thousands of letters of support from all around the world, all because I wanted to go to school.
Rumors of sneezing, kissing, tears, sweat, and saliva spreading AIDS caused people to panic.
How could these people in the public eye not be afraid of me, but my whole town was?
Given six months to live and being the fighter that I am, I set high goals for myself.
I believe in myself as I look forward to graduating from Hamilton Heights High School in 1991.
Eventually, I won the right to attend school, but the prejudice was still there.
Entertainers, athletes, and stars started giving me support.
Twice a week I would receive injections or IV's of Factor VIII which clotted the blood and then broke it down.
The school I was going to said they had no guidelines for a person with AIDS.
The first five to six years of my life were spent in and out of the hospital.
I came face to face with death at thirteen years old.
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.
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.
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.
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