Ryan: Making His Family Proud

Ryan, 21, passed away on January 13, 2017, as the result of a traffic accident. Ryan was born in July 1995. After his birth, while driving home from the hospital, Ryan’s older brother and older sister made Dad pull over multiple times so they could each take a turn sitting next to Ryan. This exemplifies the love he gave and received throughout his life.

Even as a child he was competitive, smart, and enthusiastic about life. He loved construction equipment as a boy, and he and his dad spent time parked on the side of the road watching construction projects in progress. He graduated high school and was a four-year college student at the time of his death.

Ryan discovered a love of acting and singing while in junior high. His success was so great that he was asked to be a part of the high school play two years in a row when he was only 12 years old. The second year he had a starring role and he was so very proud! As a young man, he would effortlessly succeed at everything he attempted. He picked up all manner of sports just to prove that he could. His favorite sports were Rugby and football, and Ryan was hand-selected for the Wisconsin State Select Rugby Team multiple times.

In college, Ryan was extremely proud to have competed in the national Rugby playoffs two years in a row. He played hard and was so competitive. When Ryan tore his ACL which took him out of play for a season, he dedicated himself to physical therapy and came back to play rugby again. Sadly, he tore his ACL once again. When he was no longer able to play Rugby, Ryan applied his boundless energy to new interests with the same enthusiasm. He pursued cartography, guitar, photography and art. He developed a passion for the outdoors and hiked peaks and trails in Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Montana – often at 3 a.m. so he could see the sunrise.

Everyone who knew Ryan speaks of his ability to make a friend wherever he went. His excitement captivated all those who he interacted with, and this is shown by the outpouring of support we have received. Ryan dreamed of traveling to Patagonia and Australia to explore his interests in conservation sciences. Ryan excelled in photography and left his family a gift of over 500 beautiful scenery photographs from his summer internship in Oregon.
Ryan makes his family so proud by sharing his energy with those who have received his organs, eyes and tissues. Along with these recipients, Ryan inspires all those who love him to wake up every morning and pursue their dreams without fear of failure.

We are proud of our son for choosing to be an organ, eye and tissue donor and are comforted that he lives on in so many people. We very much would love to meet the recipients who share a part of our beautiful, adventurous son.

Submitted by the Gellings Family