Jeanne White-Ginder

Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of the late Ryan White, is a nationally-recognized advocate on AIDS.

In 1984, her son Ryan White -- a hemophiliac -- was diagnosed with AIDS. His crusade to remain in school captured the nation's attention and forever changed our view of AIDS and those living with it. Jeanne and Ryan eventually went to court to fight for Ryan's right to attend school. While they won their initial battle, threats from the townspeople, including a bullet shot through the Whites' window, forced them to move. In his new hometown, Ryan went to school, became an honor roll student, earned a driver's license, and continued to speak out even while his health was rapidly deteriorating.

On Sunday, April 8, 1990, five and a half years after he was diagnosed with AIDS, Ryan White died. Jeanne and family friend Elton John were by his side. In the ensuing weeks, Jeanne received over 60,000 pieces of mail. She soon realized she needed to continue Ryan's legacy of education and compassion. She published Ryan's book, written by him for other children, and appeared at many AIDS fundraisers and benefits. In May of 1990, she came to Capitol Hill to lobby for the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource Act (CARE), a bill that called for federal funding of AIDS education, research, and emergency medical care. She served as the Founder and President of The Ryan White Foundation, a non-profit organization that educated teens and adolescents on the personal, family, and community issues related to HIV/AIDS.  She is also a board member of The AIDS Institute. Her most recent book, Weeding Out the Tears: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Renewal, was published in 1997.