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Jeanne White, Whose Son's Battle with AIDS Drew National Attention, to Speak March 3

Jeanne White, Whose Son's Battle with AIDS Drew National Attention, to Speak March 3

February 23, 1995

jeanne-white.jpgFebruary 23, 1995, Greencastle, Ind. - Jeanne White, mother of AIDS victim Ryan White, will speak at DePauw University on Friday, March 3, at 11 a.m. in East College, Meharry Hall. The convocation is free and open to the public. Jeanne White's speech is titled "AIDS Awareness: The Legacy of Ryan White."

In 1984 Jeanne White was told that her son, Ryan, a hemophiliac, had contracted AIDS from a tainted blood product. When the White's hometown, Kokomo, Indiana, discovered that Ryan had contracted AIDS, he was no longer permitted to attend school. Jeanne turned to the court system to fight for her son's right to go to school.

East College is 1The courts forced the town to allow Ryan to attend school. After the ruling the Whites received a great deal of harassment from town members. The abuse came to a peak when a bullet was shot through the White's picture window. The family then moved to Cicero, Ind. where they were wholeheartedly welcomed. Ryan went to school, became an honor roll student, earned a driver's license and traveled to visit Elton John and Michael Jackson.

On April 8, 1990, Ryan White died. After his death, Jeanne received more than 60,000 pieces of mail. As she read over the correspondence, Jeanne realized she needed to continue Ryan's legacy of education and compassion.

In May of 1990, Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator Orin Hatch invited Jeanne to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Act, a bill that called for federal funding of AIDS education and research.