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Ryan White's mom continues to share his story at the Children's Museum

Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS at the age of 13 while living in Kokomo.
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Posted at 6:49 PM, Oct 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-22 23:30:55-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On Sunday afternoon, Jeanne White-Ginder is flipping through pages of her scrapbooks.

"There’s a really good one of Ryan. That’s my favorite picture," said White-Ginder.

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White-Ginder is back at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis. She says a grant from Elton John brings her back four times a year to share her son, Ryan White's story.

Ryan died more than 30-years-ago. He was diagnosed with AIDS at the age of 13 while living in Kokomo.

It was the 1980's and reports of the new disease terrified the nation. Ryan was expelled from school due to his condition and his fight to be able to go to school made him famous around the world.

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His life has been on display at the Children's Museum for more than 15 years.

"I think it’s important for kids to learn about other kids who have made a difference," said White-Ginder.

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Many people stopped by White-Ginder's table to talk to her about Ryan.

"We read the book when I was in sixth grade, way back in 2005-2006, and they had us watch the movie in school," said visitor Brittany McCormick.

McCormick is now a mom and says she wants her daughter to know Ryan's story.

"The fact that he faced a lot of discrimination, made it through and never once complained about it," said McCormick. "He never asked why me. Instead, he was like, ‘that’s fine you don’t have to like me, but I’m going to be me and I’m going to be the best person I can be despite what you think.’"

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White-Ginder says Ryan's story still resonates with so many because it shows kids can be heroes. Especially in today's day and age, she wants them to know that.

“You don’t have to be mean about it,” said White-Ginder. “But if you hear something going on or kids discriminating against or bullying somebody, just say ‘hey cut it out.’ I think it’s a softer and easier way to say that’s not very nice.”