The video (below) actually made me crumble at the 17-second mark. It cut to a home video we shot from the mid-1990’s. It was Christmas Eve. Ryan was reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas” with his sister, Kari, to the family. A tradition that was, at that time, just a few years old but survives even now; albeit Kari reads Ryan’s parts.
I paused the video instantly because — and this is the only way I can come close to describing this — it felt like I was projectile-vomiting my soul. My mind and body seemed to violently separate where I co-existed in both realms… and simultaneously in neither. My sense of reality was equally ultra-heightened and entirely numbed.
I have since wondered if this is how it feels to die.I’ll tell you this, I hope that sensation never happens again… well, at least until the day I actually do die. Now I know, with dead certainty, that I simply cannot bring myself to watch any old home videos. Hell, I struggle just looking at photographs! When Frank asked me to look for some footage that he could use from when Ryan was growing up, I told Frank there was no way possible that I was able to bring myself to enough emotional strength to do it.
I’m sure grateful to myself that I had the foresight not to try.
My wife, Sue, tried to watch videos once. She completely broke-down,
crying wailing and trembling uncontrollably. It haunted her for months.
She vowed never to do it again.
The next day I resumed Frank’s video from exactly where I paused. It hurt, like unholy hell, to watch but I did. Well… for a few minutes more. Until I watched him playing Pee Wee baseball (:45 mark).
I paused it for another day.
Then, the part that hit me the hardest was Sue holding Ryan after her graduation (3:33 mark). Ryan was just 8-months old in that frame. What I wouldn’t give to go back to then.
Ryan’s Story: A Video by Frank Fumich
Hey everyone… I’m really proud to share something made to highlight Ryan’s tragic situation. I really wanted people to not only hear about his story, but see it, and even more importantly FEEL it… and not just from me telling it, but from his father, Ken, who lives this every single day. I hope it moves everyone as it does me, and shines a light on our effort for him. PLEASE take a few minutes to watch, and PLEASE share it. Thanks for you help! ~Frank Fumich, Extreme Adventurer.
If Frank’s video (above) made you “feel it” as he hopes, here is the link he provided for the Donation Page: http://
Later this week — perhaps as early as tomorrow — please check back here for another video. This will be the segment that aired across the United States over the Memorial Day weekend.
Beth Ildaria Broder via Facebook says
My thoughts and prayers continue!! God bless you all. I wish there was more I could do. But I will continue to hold you all in my heart thoughts & prayers.
Watching Ryan and your family in this video is like a triple kick in the solar plexus. I hope and pray Frank’s monumental goal to raise much needed funds for Ryan gets more and more publicity, and that caring people feel moved to support and encourage your family.
It has been such an emotionally and physically draining nightmare …. and …. few can understand the sense of isolation and loneliness…feeling as though one has been forgotten amidst the rubble from the devastation wrought by VanTrease and May.
But we haven’t forgotten Ken nor will we ever. Please file that in the inner recesses of your weeping and tattered heart. We’re still here, believe it, and you, Ryan, Sue and Kari are daily flowing through our thoughts and prayers. Love abounds for you, and we forever remain still here, still praying.
Sending you hugs, prayers, good thoughts, fresh hope== which I still have and have never lost. Keeping the faith here because if I ever had faith in anyone it’s Ryan.
Rhonda Morin says
Not being able to look at photos and video must be some type of thing that normal brains use to ease the pain. I was unable to look at photos of my father in law for 3 years while we took care of him. For another year I could only see him in that state and not his former self. Even today it’s hard but I do remember him in his life fully functional.
I can’t watch this video it will be like ripping my nails off and I honor your family but I am unable.
Bill Kruger via Facebook says
Prayers for Ryan !!!!!
I actually bought three shirts a couple of months ago for my two sons, Chase (21) & Cole (18), and myself. Chase suffered a TBI two years ago after falling 25 ft while hiking with two friends in Chattanooga, where he was a sophomore at the University of Tennessee. The journey is long and there are truly no words to adequately articulate the pain, suffering and loss associated with such an injury.
I cried many tears after watching the video. I, too, hope Ryan is happy. I know he feels the love and support of his wonderful family.
Keep fighting, Ryan! Never, ever, ever give up!
Karyn Mandracchia Ahern via Facebook says
Praying daily for you all
God bless, Ken. I continue to admire your strength.
Tricia Edwards via Facebook says
My prayers are with you!
So sad. Always thinking of you.
This tragedy effected so many in so many different ways. Austin Vantrease, Jon May and their group of friends who stood by and watched will never be able to repay what they did to so many. It is still hard after all these years to understand why Jon and Austin they did what they did and why? why? did their friends just stand by.
Liza Krause via Facebook says
I continue to pray for you. How I wish I could take some of your pain away.
Gail Doyle says
Ryan will always be relevant .and have a very special place in all our hearts.
Wish we could take away all yours and family’s pain and hurt .Know we’re here<3
Go Ryan,Go Frank!!!!!
Caitlin Bennett says
Ken, I broke down and cried at this. Please know that Ryan is thought of even overseas. I tell people about him whenever I can to raise awareness. You are such a fabulously devoted father and Ryan knows how much you sacrifice for him. Never give up because your supporters never will.
Diane braciszewski says
I am so sorry for the hardship you as a family go through everyday! I also hope that Ryan is happy, I know he is truly loved!