Ryan White

When Ryan White was born in Kokomo on Dec. 6, 1971, his mother hoped she had a future Wildkat. That dream ended when he was diagnosed with hemophilia three days later. While he was battling pneumonia, White had to have surgery on Dec. 17, 1984, to have two inches of his left lung removed. Two hours after the surgery, doctors told his mother that he had AIDS. White contracted the disease through a blood-clotting agent used to treat his hemophilia. He was given six months to live. But Ryan White was a fighter. His struggle to attend school and lead a normal life would make him a household name throughout the nation and put a youthful face on the devastating virus. Ryan White died on April 8, 1990, at the age of 18. Those attending his funeral included Michael Jackson, Howie Long, Barbara Bush, Phil Donahue and Elton John.

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