History and Legacy

Ryan White was the first child to speak out about HIV infection in the United States. He gave a face to this very feared and misunderstood infection, and his efforts led to substantial progress in HIV research and care. Dr. Martin Kleiman, founder of the Section of Pediatric Infectious Disease, was Ryan’s doctor. Dr. Kleiman worked with Ryan and his mother Jeanne White to give Ryan the best care possible in those years before effective medication against HIV was available.  Ryan White died in 1990. In 1991, the Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) was started by Dr. Jill Stewart Waibel, a close friend of Ryan’s, as a way to honor the memory of a young man that taught many around him the value of love and courage. 

Ryan_and_Dr.K.jpg Over the last 25 years, IUDM has grown to become the second largest student-run philanthropic organization in the nation and the country’s largest Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon. Every year, over 1,200 students work year-round to raise funds and awareness for Riley Hospital for Children. Because of the continued hard work of these student leaders, IUDM has raised more than $20 million for the Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health over the last 25 years.

The organization continues to draw inspiration, drive, and courage from Ryan’s memory, and from the memory of one of their most dedicated student leaders, Ashley Louise Crouse, who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2005, while serving on IUDM’s council.

The Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health is proud to build on the legacy of Ryan White, Jeanne White and Dr. Martin Kleiman. The Center is grateful to the many IUDM students and donors who have provided us with an extraordinary opportunity to improve the health of children. We pledge to honor that commitment with world-class clinical care, research and education in pediatric infectious disease that makes a difference for kids in Indiana and all over the world. As the IUDM students say every year, we do it “FTK” – For The Kids.