Ryan White

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Ryan White
Ryan White may not have lived a long life, but his life definitely made an impact on our nation and the world. Ryan faced a life full of discrimination and pain, but he learned how to overcome everything. Ryan Wayne Wright was born on December 6, 1971 in Kokomo, Indiana, to Jeanne Elaine Hale and Hubert Wayne White. Ryan was only 6 days old when doctors diagnosed him with a severe form of type A hemophilia. Hemophilia is a blood disease that causes the sufferer’s blood cannot clot and minor injuries can cause them to even bleed to death. Because Ryan had hemophilia, he had to receive blood transfusions of Factor VIII, a product of blood that aids in clotting. Although Ryan had this severe disease, he could still go about his life as normal as possible. But everything changed for Ryan in December 1984.

Ryan had become extremely sick with a case of pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. On December 17, 1984, Ryan had a partial lung removed surgery, but doctor’s found something even more shocking during the surgery. Ryan had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. Doctors were stunned with this diagnosis because AIDS had only been discovered a few years before, therefore it was relatively new in the medical world. Doctors had only realized earlier that year that AIDS was actually caused by the infection of the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. Ryan had contracted HIV from one of his transfusions, because much of the pooled factor VIII concentrate supply was tainted because doctors did not know how to test for the disease, and donors did not know they were infected. Among hemophiliacs being treated with transfusions, 90% of them were found to be infected with HIV. A normal human’s T-cell count is at about 1,200, but at the time of diagnosis White’s had dropped down to 25 T-cells.

After the diagnosis, Ryan was too sick to return to school, but when he was feeling better his mother asked school officials if he could come back. The school said...
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