Ryan was a bright eyed boy with an abundance of energy and a knack for bringing the neighborhood kids together. The O’Shea house was a hub of activity, a place where you received a warm welcome and on any given day an invitation to compete in one of many games. Born the third of four boys in this busy household, it was easy to see why people were drawn to Ryan.
Ryan gave back to his community; participating in the challenger league in his early years and later in Hoops for All working with children and teenagers with special needs. By the time Ryan was a senior he was a standout forward on the South Side High School Basketball team. As a captain, he led the team in scoring and rebounding and was named to the first team All-County selection. In
the spring of his senior year he joined the track team becoming a dominant force in the High Jump. He placed 8th in the state and his highest jump was an amazing 6’ 5”. After only one season he was named All County and All State.
First and foremost Ryan valued his family; Ryan was son to Mary and John, brother to John, Liam and Griffin, a grandson, a nephew, a cousin and friend to many. Ryan excelled academically and was an amazing, accomplished athlete. He was popular, had an amazing family and strong friendships. He was well liked and would light up any room with his smile. He was someone all the kids his age wanted to be friends with and who younger people aspired to be. Ryan shared himself with the people he valued most and gave to those in need without mention. Following a traumatic brain injury in 2014 Ryan quietly and privately struggled.
Ryan successfully completed his first semester at Iona College, found himself at a crossroads and was in search of a new path. He enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with his family and friends. After thoughtful deliberation and with the support of his family Ryan decided to transfer to a local college. What could easily be misread as typical teenage angst and discontent was far more than anyone could ever have imagined. On January 11, 2019 Ryan died by suicide. A permanent solution to a temporary problem, so many of us were blindsided. This beautiful boy, so full of life, full of promise, so talented and loved; who also committed countless unassuming acts of kindness and touched so many took his own life. This is the face of suicide.
We need to eradicate the assumption that our successful, accomplished, driven young people who seem to have it all actually have everything they need to navigate this complicated world. We need to know the risk factors. We need to arm ourselves with the proper tools, the foresight to ask the right questions and provide the resources to serve our youth and the people who support them.
Ryan was part of the fiber of this community, he brought so much joy to those around him and in his young life made such a positive impact, we want our young people to strive to emulate and celebrate this tradition. In his death through this foundation we are committed to acknowledging all of the faces of suicide. To see those who publicly struggle and those who struggle in private. It is our mission to increase mental health awareness while decreasing self destructive behavior through support and education. We aim to provide support for those in crisis, so that they are armed with the proper tools where suicide is no longer a viable option.