Ryan feels blessed to have achieved such early success with his goals in life. During his climb to reach the elite-level of competition in skateboarding, he as had to push through many tough challenges. He knows he is fortunate to be a Champion at the thing he enjoys the most. And he strives to share his compassion far beyond the skate park.
One of Ryan’s core concerns is for the children, and their families, who are battling childhood diseases. Maybe because of the challenges he has had to overcome, Ryan is humbled by the strength he sees in the eyes of the babies, kids, and teens that are fighting to survive pediatric illnesses.
At the Sheckler Foundation’s “Skate for a Cause” in 2010, the event raised monies and awareness for the “Make-A-Wish” group. In between competitions, Ryan took time to meet with children in treatment for cancer, as well as some survivors of this cruel disease. One of these kids, 8-year old skater Thomas Johnson, is pictured here with Ryan. They exchanged a few words of encouragement to each other, and Thomas’s face shows the joy he got from bonding with the guy who popped from the giant wall decal in his skate-themed room. Thomas had met the challenge of five years of harsh surgeries, chemo therapy and intense radiation. Although Thomas endured so much cancer treatment, the tumors returned, and only days before this event, Thomas began End-Of-Life care at home.
Thomas died 6-weeks after this picture was taken, but his Legend Lives On in his “TEAM THOMAS” community of 1000+ who raise funds for pediatric cancer research at local schools and the annual Cinco de Mayo ‘Reaching for the Cure’ run/walk put on by the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation in Irvine, CA.
Thomas, in his own words, left us all with a simple quote: “We will be kind and loving to each others.” It looks like he and Ryan bonded on more than just skateboarding.
In loving memory of Thomas Johnson