(March 31, 2015) - Ryan White was just a kid from Kokomo, Indiana but he died a hero. A hemophiliac who contracted AIDS, and battled to stay in a school, which rejected him, White did manage to make friends, like Elton John, and Michael Jackson.
Olympic diver Greg Louganis became a friend as well.
“He was wise beyond his years that's how important education is and fighting for the right for other people, young kids who were living with HIV, the right to education,” said Louganis.
Louganis, had read about White's battles trying to go to school, so when Louganis came to Indy to dive at the natatorium in 1986, he invited Ryan to his meet.
“I took him up to the 10 meter platform and I said, see what I dive off of, and he turned to me and said you're crazy, you're nuts. That started that friendship,” said Louganis.
Ryan's life has been documented in a movie and books, but now Nelson Price and the Historical Society have written a biography intended for kids called, The Quiet Hero.
Jeanne White, Ryan's mom, says it's exactly what Ryan would have wanted.
“He did not want people feeling sorry for him and saying, ‘why me?’ I think he just wanted to open eyes to a disease that he saw that people were very confused about, scared of and he wanted to make it better for everybody,” said White.
Ryan died April 8th, 1990 at Riley Hospital. But his legacy lives on as the Indiana kid who faced the AIDS epidemic head on.