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June 28, 2013 / tgexp

Ryan Ward

We got this email from Ryan:

Team Gleason,

Let me start by saying what an inspiration Steve is to me. Like Steve, I am a young (34) husband and father living with ALS. I was diagnosed January 2010 after two years of testing – I never dreamed that a weak hand would turn into a fatal disease. However, like Steve, I too have determined to live a long, full life. To do that, I have realized the the need for assistive technology. For the past three years we have been able to afford many things such as my powerchair, home modifications, etc. However, we are facing our biggest obstacle yet – communication. My voice is almost entirely gone. I am currently trying to get the new Tobii I12 eyegaze device, but recently found out Medicare requires a copay of approximately $2,600.00. So, as of right now, I am unable to get the device, as we have depleted our resources (savings, 401k) on previous medical equipment. Then I remembered the first part of your mission statement and decided to reach out to you for help. Anything Team Gleason can do to help with acquiring this device will be greatly appreciated. I will gladly provide contact info for my neurologist, speech therapist and Tobii representative if you like. Thank You for your time and consideration!

– Ryan Ward


Seeing this picture and reading about his determination to live life for his wife and daughter, we wanted to help Ryan. He’s an inspiration for us. With the funds raised for The Gleason Initiative Foundation, we were able to pay the remainder of the Tobii eyegaze equipment.

From Ryan:

Hi Michel,

I had no idea I was speaking to you and Steve directly… that is AWESOME! I can’t begin to thank y’all enough. Not just for the money, but for the hope and encouragement I draw from you. I hate to admit it, but I’ve never really cared for football, nevertheless Steve has become a real hero to me! My favorite SG quote is “What remains when we shed our pride and shame? Love…Shed your skin.”. That has really helped me overcome my own pride and allow others to help me.

Thanks again for everything!

All my love and prayers,
Ryan Ward


One Comment

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  1. Daniel W. / Mar 16 2015 1:11 am

    I am employee for Ryan’s father for the past 10 years and for about a year and a half I had the privilege of working with Ryan. Right around the time his hands started bothering him was when he had to stop building houses with us but no one knew what was to come. I am sorry to pass on the news that Ryan passed away Saturday at hospice. He is a inspiration to all that knew him and witnessed not just his fight but the courageous way he fought it as well as how he showed everyone that no matter what life throws your way that nothing can take your integrity or break the human spirit. I am grateful to your great organization and all the help you gave Ryan and his family. All the thanks I can give won’t come close to expressing what that kind of love did for that family. The world lost a great husband and father but heaven gained a true angel. I know the ward family is in pain and there isn’t a whole lot I can do to ease their burden but if there is anything you would like to say or do for them…well, you know how to reach them. I hate to bring the bad news but I want you to know that the Wards appreciated all you did and the rest of us did to. God bless you. You are a real Saint.

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