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Ricky (January 28, 1977 – December 13, 1992), Robert D (January 27, 1978 – October 20, 2000) and Randy Ray (born June 3, 1979) were three hemophiliac brothers who were diagnosed with HIV in 1986 due to blood transfusions.
The sons of Arcadia, Florida natives Louise and Clifford Ray, Ricky and Randy were hemophiliacs and contracted HIV from a blood transfusion when they were both under 8 years old. They were exiled from their community due to fear of others contracting the disease. Their school in De Sota County, Memorial Elementary would no allow them to attend school due to their diagnosis. They became the subject of a federal court battle against the DeSoto County School Board to allow the children to attend public school despite their diagnosis. The Rays were victorious in their legal battle and the boys were allowed to go back to school and won a settlement of 1.1 million dollars but the Ray home was burned down a week after the 1987 decision, forcing the family to leave Arcadia.
Ricky Ray became an activist in the fight against AIDS. In 1992 he allowed camera crews to document his declining health and stated he wanted America to see what AIDS did to people. President Bill Clinton spoke to him and thanked him for his work for raising awareness on Aids.Ricky Ray died in 1992 at age 15. Prior to his death, he made headlines by planning to marry his 17-year-old girlfriend, but a judge blocked the wedding because of his age. Robert died in 2000 at age 22 when AIDS claimed him. Shortly thereafter, their father, Clifford Ray, attempted suicide but failed. Randy Ray married in 2001 and lives in Orlando, Florida, and manages his HIV through medication.
- Donnelly, John. "Ricky Ray loses AIDS battle". The Miami Herald. 1992/12/14:
- Craig Basse and Mike Brassfield. "Robert Ray, 22, succumbs to longtime AIDS struggle". St. Petersburg Times. October 21, 2000
- Buckley, Stephen. "Slow change of heart". St. Petersburg Times. September 2, 2001
- Thomas, Mike "Arson Cause Of Fire At Rays -- Boys Start School Today". Orlando Sentinel September 23, 1987
- Hammit, Bob. "The Ray Brothers, A sad story about ignorance and intolerance". The Unfinished Pyramid. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
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- And the Band Played On