Ryan White’s Story

Our story begins with a thirteen-year-old boy. A boy whose struggles with AIDS, a deeply misunderstood disease, public misconceptions, and bigotry became national news. Furthermore, rather than succumb to the harsh realities of his illness and the public’s attempt to ban him from school and from life, his spirit remained undamaged. Instead, he became an advocate against all kinds of prejudice and promoted compassion for all people throughout the country and world. His name was Ryan White.

Ryan won his court battle and was able to return to school, but his life was never the same. After numerous death threats and an attempt on his life, Ryan moved to Cicero, Indiana where he found sanctuary and a sense of community. He looked forward to attending Indiana University the fall of 1990. However, the spring before he was to attend university, on April 8, Ryan lost his battle with his disease. In his memory, his friends at Indiana University began Dance Marathon to commemorate Ryan’s devotion to kindness and enthusiasm for life. This memorial soon erupted into a national movement. Today, Ryan’s legacy lives on in the millions of dancers who participate in Dance Marathon each year, fighting for children similar to Ryan, fighting for their lives in hopes of a better tomorrow.

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