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Author Topic: Elton John's letter to Ryan White  (Read 1855 times)

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Offline Dachshund

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  • Posts: 5,922
Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« on: April 25, 2010, 09:28:19 AM »
Washington Post Editorial Page:

Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

Dear Ryan,
I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured.

When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know.

When the media heralded you as an "innocent victim" because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.

When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life.

Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it.

Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society.

Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives.


It breaks my heart that you are not one of them. You were 18 when you died, and you would be 38 this year, if only the current treatments existed when you were sick. I think about this every day, because America needs your message of compassion as never before.

Ryan, when you were alive, your story sparked a national conversation about AIDS. But despite all the progress in the past 20 years, the dialogue has waned. I know you would be trying to revive it if you were here today, when the epidemic continues to strike nearly every demographic group, with more than 50,000 new infections in the United States each year. I know you would be loudly calling for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy that was promised by President Obama but has not yet been delivered. I know you would reach out to young people. I know you would work tirelessly to help everyone suffering from HIV, including those who live on the margins of society.

It would sadden you that today, in certain parts of the United States, some poor people with AIDS are still placed on waiting lists to receive treatment. It would anger you that your government is still not doing enough to help vulnerable people with HIV and populations that are at high risk of contracting the virus, including sexually active teenagers. It would upset you that AIDS is a leading cause of death among African Americans.

It would frustrate you that even though hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive Americans are receiving treatment in your name, more than 200,000 don't know their HIV-positive status, largely because a lingering stigma surrounding the disease prevents them from being tested. It would disappoint you that many teenagers do not have access to science-based HIV-prevention programs in school, at a time when half of new infections are believed to be among people under 25.

I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You've been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I'm still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought.

Your friend,

Elton

 

Offline Hellraiser

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Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2010, 10:28:42 AM »
That's a pretty damn good letter.

Offline StacheBC

  • Member
  • Posts: 266
  • Hello
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2010, 11:13:32 AM »
That brought tears to my eyes.

Thanks Dachs.

Offline ds4146

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  • Posts: 314
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2010, 11:20:27 AM »
Wow! Twenty years. Let's hope Obama reads it and gets his ass in gear.

Offline Rev. Moon

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,782
  • Smart ass faggot
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2010, 08:01:45 PM »
So true (and quite sad).  Thanks for posting, Doxie.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline WillyWump

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,035
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2010, 10:04:30 PM »
That was amazing, made me teary.

thanks for sharing that.

-Will
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%
8/9/12, CD4 not taken, UD.
2/13/12, CD4- 904, UD 42%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 4,613
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2010, 11:44:02 PM »
Thanks for sharing this.  I've been thinking a lot about Ryan in the last couple weeks.  He would be 38?  We all owe our lives and future health to the work Ryan started along with many others.  I agree that Ryan would probably be working for HIV prevention and against abstinence only education. 

I asked my nephew what the schools are teaching kids today about HIV.  He said it was barely mentioned in a list of STDs.   We need more education about the virus and other STDs before kids become sexually active.  Condoms need to be seen as something good.  Hell, the only TV networks that will show a condom commercial are cable networks like Comedy Central.  The others refuse to show them.  I realize we are all responsible for our actions.  I just wonder how many would have been spared if schools really discussed HIV in-depth and we weren't so hung up on the condom issue. 

Elton is right.  There has been so much progress, but still so much left to do.   


Offline PeteNYNJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 979
  • When life gives you AIDS...make LemonAIDS!
    • Dance for Me, Puppets
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 02:34:25 AM »
Thank you Ryan, and his Mother, for being so strong and for Elton to keep you alive in our hearts!  Why is this not a Hollywood movie?

Offline Phoenius10

  • Member
  • Posts: 29
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 02:51:29 AM »
Ryan White represents one of the first fixes to the failure of the Reagan and Bush administrations in dealing with the hiv/aids epidemic.

As for as condom education, they should be educating the kids on how exactly the disease is spread, so that if a condom isn't used, they can still minimize their risk.  I've avoided getting the disease for many years not by using condoms, but because I knew how it spread and what was most & least risky.

Thanks for sharing this.  I've been thinking a lot about Ryan in the last couple weeks.  He would be 38?  We all owe our lives and future health to the work Ryan started along with many others.  I agree that Ryan would probably be working for HIV prevention and against abstinence only education. 

I asked my nephew what the schools are teaching kids today about HIV.  He said it was barely mentioned in a list of STDs.   We need more education about the virus and other STDs before kids become sexually active.  Condoms need to be seen as something good.  Hell, the only TV networks that will show a condom commercial are cable networks like Comedy Central.  The others refuse to show them.  I realize we are all responsible for our actions.  I just wonder how many would have been spared if schools really discussed HIV in-depth and we weren't so hung up on the condom issue. 

Elton is right.  There has been so much progress, but still so much left to do.   


Offline PeteNYNJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 979
  • When life gives you AIDS...make LemonAIDS!
    • Dance for Me, Puppets
Re: Elton John's letter to Ryan White
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 03:21:46 AM »
OK, but Ryan White represents one of the greatest represent of sympathy that the aids community.  At the end of the day, he was little boy dying of a horrible disease and I think of him often. 

 


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