Huntley youth sports coach Jim Ryan organized a successful fundraiser for a traveling baseball team in early March, raising money to help out the nonprofit. It's just something he does, help anyone who needs it.
A few days later, his life changed dramatically and left him in need of help.
Ryan, of Huntley, was on a roof March 2 when the ladder underneath him slid and caused him to fall 24 feet onto the concrete driveway. He broke the fall with his arms, saving himself from death or paralysis.
The fall crushed his hand, wrist and elbow on each arm and broke nearly every bone in his face, his father, Jim Ryan Sr., said.
Now, Ryan and his family need help to help pay for his medical bills during his long recovery.
Friends and colleagues created a Web site to raise money for the 36-year-old, his wife, Katie and their two children, Tommy, 11 and Meghan, 5.
“Jim is the type of man who would always be there to offer a helping hand when somebody needs anything and would be the first to take the shirt off his back if someone needed it,” a friend said.
A long recovery
This week, Ryan had surgery to remove the wires from his mouth and jaw, wires that were basically holding things together, his father said.
It is one of many surgeries he has undergone in the last month and a half. He had three surgeries just days after the fall. Ryan had both hands reconstructed with pins and rods, Ryan Sr. said.
Ryan also had surgery on his face, which was reconstructed using seven plates, his father said.
“It’s a long ordeal,” Ryan Sr. said. “He’s completely helpless. There’s nothing he can do himself. He’s doing somewhat better. Obviously, it will be a long process.”
Doctors wanted to send him to a rehabilitation center, but the family could not afford the cost. His sister, Nancy, is taking care of him in her McHenry home.
“It’s very, very difficult,” Ryan Sr. said. “He was pretty depressed one day because he’s totally immobile. I tell him he’s fortunate because he could be this way for the rest of his life.”
Since Ryan worked as an independent contractor, he had no workman’s comp. He has some health insurance but not enough to pay for the extensive cosmetic surgery required to repair his injuries.
Ryan Sr. said his son will be unemployed for the next six months.
“The bills will be astronomical, there is no doubt about it,” Ryan Sr. said.
A love for coaching sports
The photo on helpjimryan.com shows Ryan with his son posing near a baseball field. Ryan is very active in Huntley youth sports programs, including baseball, soccer and T-ball. Last season, he coached a football team that went undefeated all season and went to the league’s Super Bowl.
“He really does love Huntley and loves their programs,” his father said. “It’s killing him not to be involved with baseball."
Ryan is a big part of the Huntley area and has lived in town for the past 10 years, according to the friend.
“I know that his kids are his pride and joy and absolutely loves spending time with them and says the hardest thing for him right now is not being able to get out and play with his children,” a friend said.
His friend asks for the community to help Ryan and his family by making a donation on the website. Any amount would be greatly appreciated, he said.