Decorated Soldier and Loving FatherBethany F. Warwick, Rhode Island
Ryan was an incredible man. In 35 years, he lived more than most of us do in a lifetime. Ryan was a loving husband, a devoted father to 3 young boys, a caring brother and a cherished son. He was an accomplished professional and a decorated soldier and airman. He had an infectious laugh and a contagious smile. He was so loved and admired by all, and will be missed immeasurably. After a few months of unexplained weakness and frequent falls, doctors shared with us in April of 2012 that Ryan was suffering from ALS, a harsh and ugly disease that would eventually take him from us. A heart-wrenching diagnosis. We tried many remedies that we hoped would slow down the progression of his aggressive case. But, within 10 months of the diagnosis, Ryan went from walking with a cane, to a wheel chair, to being 100% paralyzed and bed-ridden. He was a prisoner in his own body. Ryan chose to spend his time at home with his family where he could see his 3 boys and let them know how much he loved them. Ryan was able to keep his ability to speak which is what he hoped for the most. What a blessing to hear him say “I love you” to us on December 18, 2012- the day he passed away and into the loving arms of Jesus. Some people receive this diagnosis and crash and burn, but not Ryan. Throughout his 10 month fight, he maintained a remarkably good attitude as his mind remained sharp but his health and body rapidly deteriorated. He refused to give into bitterness and resentment. He did not want his children to remember him that way. Up until his last breath, Ryan united our family and gave us strength. He was the most courageous man I’ve ever known. Our family is able to “go on” as we have the peace, grace and hope that only God can give. We rest assured that we will see Ryan again and that he is now at perfect peace in Heaven with our Lord and Savior. We will continue to share Ryan’s life with others and devote our time and efforts to raising awareness of ALS and we will never lose hope that someday there will be a cure for this horrific disease. It is my prayer that no more families will be torn apart by ALS.