Ryan was an avid body boarder, basketball player and
car enthusiast who was diagnosed with Stage 2B Hodgkins Disease at age 13. Following 6 months of grueling chemotherapy, he
enjoyed a two year remission before the cancer relapsed in 1998. Despite having 4 more months of chemo, 9 weeks of radiation
and a massive Brouviac infection, Ryan kept up his spirits and his determination to somehow enjoy his summer! Again rewarded
with remission, Ryan obtained his coveted driver's license and his first car, which he promptly began modifying. Despite
falling behind in school because of extensive absences, Ryan continued to forge ahead and participated on the crew (rowing)
team, volunteered as a driver for the American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery Program, and cherished every moment spent
with friends (mostly in the garage or in someone's car). At the end of his junior year at Saint Thomas More School, despite
being in the best shape of his young life, Ryan was told that the cancer had returned yet again.
This time, Ryan underwent a stem cell transplant following
conditioning chemotherapy. He was hospitalized for a month for the transplant. On his return home in October, 2001, his
beloved dog Lucas walked through the entire house on his hind legs out of the sheer joy of seeing Ryan again!
initial optimism that the transplant would cure him, Ryan began to have symptoms of cancer shortly after the new year in 2002.
Various experimental drugs were tried, to no avail. All the while he was in considerable pain and enduring the many side
effects of treatment, Ryan continued to attempt to finish high school and set his sights on attending the College of the Holy
Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, to study for a degree in journalism.
Throughout his last hours on earth, he continued,
as always, to be more concerned for those around him than for himself, making light of his situation through humor. His final
gesture as he was taken to the Intensive Care Unit was his trademark "thumbs up."
Ryan passed away at 3:15 am on December
10, 2002, with the lights from Christmas decorations shining in the cold night air. He took with him the love of many people
who tried to heal him through medicine and prayer. He leaves behind a legacy of caring for others and his desire to see every
young man and woman who has known the devastation of cancer achieve their dream of a college education. Above all, Ryan hoped
to live to see the cure for this terrible disease that has broken so many hearts.