acceptance, Jeanne and Ryan would have some weapons they
could use. They could take the initiative and perhaps even
experience as success or two.

Could Jeanne White have predicted the many ways Ryan would
become famous? How could she know that after the bigoted
rejection from Kokomo, the town of Cicero would embrace the
White family and provide them with a home and financial
support? (One never reads of it, but one can imagine the
enormous economic burden Jeanne had faced!) Could she have
anticipated the grace and poise Ryan would exhibit in meeting
those already famous celebrities who wanted to meet him?
Could any of us have predicted that many of those rich and
famous would also behave graciously toward Ryan and become
important friends with the entire family? And yet it
happened just his way.

All of this is his story, and it is her story, too. When I
think of those who second guess Jeanne White's motives I am
reminded of the aphorism: before you judge someone, walk a
mile in their shoes. Having experienced the blinding anguish
of nearly losing a child; the exhausting emotional roller
coaster of caring for a child with chronic life-threatening
condition; having held the hands of terminally ill friends as
they worked through the stages of death acceptance (each with

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