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Children’s Museum of Indianapolis shares story of AIDS advocate, Kokomo native Ryan White  

Last Updated 2 weeks by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

Children’s Museum shares story of Ryan White and battle with AIDS

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is sharing the story of one Indiana boy’s bravery in the face of the AIDS epidemic, and how it impacted his small Indiana community and beyond. 

Ryan White was born in Kokomo in December 1971, and when he was 13, Ryan was diagnosed with AIDS after a blood transfusion.

After his diagnosis, he faced much AIDS-related discrimination from his community, but used his voice to fight against fear and misinformation surrounding HIV/AIDS. Most famously, he became an inspiration for his fight to continue going to school.

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AJ Morrison with the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis told News 8 that Ryan’s story is particularly unique because of its local connection.

“They were in Kokomo and then moved to Cicero. He went to Hamilton Heights High School, where he was welcomed by the students there,” he said.

The museum’s exhibit shows part of Ryan’s bedroom on display. The more than 500 artifacts from Ryan’s life help tell the story of his struggle with AIDS, his fight to attend school, and the great accomplishments he achieved before his death in April 1990.

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“It just helps kids realize that anybody can really make a difference, and in Ryan’s case, standing up and speaking out against bullying and HIV/Aids,” Morrison said.

Along with the exhibit, Ryan’s mother and sister, Jeanne White Ginder and Andrea White, hosted a series of talks at the museum.

Sunday’s conversation runs from noon to 2 p.m., and will be structured like an informal conversation in Ryan’s bedroom. Listeners will be able to hear firsthand stories of how Ryan’s bravery impacted their family and several Indiana communities.

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A formal presentation will take place after from 2 – 2:45 p.m. Museum leaders add that topics discussed in the conversations about Ryan may be difficult for young children.

The exhibit and Ryan’s room will be showcased inside The Power of Children: Making a Difference on level 3 of the museum.

For more information on these talks and White’s story, visit the museum’s website.  

News 8’s Michaela Springer contributed to this report.