Just 6 days into Ryan's senior year of high school, his entire world changed! Prior to this day Ryan was a competitive golfer, multi National Champion equestrian, played guitars, and had a 4.2 GPA... and had his sights set on Stanford!
Starting on September 2, 2015, Ryan began running a low grade fever. For 3 days his mother took his to see the doctor, each time become told it was just a virus, it will pass. NEVER once taking his blood! During that time he was vomiting, became lethargic and his fever was around 103.5. On the 4th day his high fever still wouldn't break and he vomited to the point that his blood vessels in his eyes burst, leaving the whites of his eyes completely red. His mother rushed him back to the doctors office where a new doctor took immediate action, which saved his life.
He was rushed to Rady Childrens Hospital by ambulance and put into the Intensive Care Unit. Doctors were not sure if he would live because his blood pressure was so low and his body was in septic shock, his organs were starting to shut down. They were told to call family members.
The next day, Ryan was found to have leaky blood vessels, and his lungs were gaining fluid...Ryan could no longer breath on his own... After a couple more days in ICU, the doctors did a bone marrow test. On Sept. 10, 2015 the bone marrow test returned and Ryan was told "You have Cancer". He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Later on he was upgraded to have Very High Risk ALL because he did not reach remission within the first month of treatment, along with him being much older. Ryan remained tough as he endured through much pain, but continued to push on.
The day after his diagnoses, he began intensive chemotherapy. He had to go to ICU again as he spiked 107 fever! On top of everything else, his pancreas was in trouble and he could only eat 20 grams of fat a day. The first month of treatment was extremely difficult for Ryan and his family.
Somehow through it all his attitude changed and he was determined to not let cancer define him! He began to develop relationships with fellow warrriors, most of which were much younger than he.
His Valley Center High School classmates had a Teddy Bear which sat in Ryan's chair to show their support and to let Ryan know they are always thinking of him. Ryan's favorite golfer, Ricky Fowler, gave Ryan a call while in the hospital to encourage Ryan and talk about golf, his passion! Ryan was super stoked to talk to Ricky and his spirits were lifted.
Ryan has always set high goals for himself and one of which is to be accepted into Stanford University and be on their golf team. The Stanford University golf coach, Coach Conrad Ray, gave Ryan a call when he heard about Ryan's Leukemia fight and goals. After hearing from both Coach Ray and Rickie Fowler, that was what finally motivates Ryan to get out of bed and start fighting!
The last 19 months have been quite the roller coaster ride for Ryan and his family. However even in the darkest hours, they continued to pray for God'S grace to watch over Ryan's fight. Cancer can be devastating to everyone involved with the battle. If you keep your head up you can witness some amazing blessings.
Some of these include meeting the greatest people... doctor, nurses, hospital staff, and fellow warriors and their families! Ryan has been fortunate to meet so many extraordinary people. Many are much younger than him and he has become their mentor in some ways. However the young ones also fighting the same battle have helped Ryan through his own fight. Seeing them laugh and play in the hallways encouraged him to accept that he had cancer... "If they can do this, I can do this!"
Now Ryan is using this opportunity of becoming LLS Man of the Year as his way to give back! To help future warriors have better treatments and safer drugs... and to give them HOPE!
Ryan on Sept 6, 2015... fighting for his life