I don’t always get a chance to meet a child or young adult who is battling cancer and being treated at The Melodies Center. They know of the foundation and have received some of our services, but sometimes we just don’t get that chance to connect. I didn’t meet Ryan, but I had heard so much about him, and I knew that he was fighting hard to be healed, so he could continue on to college.
When Ryan passed away, I felt compelled to go to his funeral. My heart broke at the loss of Ryan, his potential, his handsome smile, the pain that I knew his family and his wonderful girlfriend, Jenna, were going through. I needed to hug his family and let them know that he would always be with him, and that I hoped they would have the opportunity to feel him when they were hurting.
Ryan has touched so many people’s lives in his 18 years in this world. It makes us wonder what he could have done had he lived and question why his life was cut so short. His family may ask these questions too, but they may never get an answer. What they do know is that they have received tremendous support through family, friends, counseling, and foundations. This helps them get through each day. More importantly, they know that Ryan is with them every day, just in a different way, and this keeps them going.
Ryan’s family understand firsthand that children and young adults battling cancer are the toughest, most strong willed individuals who never give up, despite the very rough times they go through. Parents, family, and caregivers must adopt that same mind set to support their children through their ordeal. This mind set is helping Ryan’s family as they miss him.
We lost a young man who had the chance to change the world. His spirit and memory urge us to now take action in his name. More funding needs to be provided to help children and young adults battle cancer. Donating to foundations like St. Baldrick’s and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, CureSearch, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, or Children’s Oncology Group ensures that your money directly supports childhood cancer research.