Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run rocks Boone Aug. 6
After his son, Ryan, died on Dec. 21, 2007, just 10 days shy of his 17th birthday, John Glenny was devastated. Ryan had spent the last two years of his short life in a valiant fight with cancer.
"I sat in the house the whole winter," Glenny said. "When spring came, I decided I have to do something about this."
Glenny joined family friend Dirk Krause in 2008 to organize an event in honor of Ryan. Four years later, Ryan's family, friends and the community continue to come together every summer at Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run to celebrate and remember Ryan's life.
The fourth annual Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run, featuring three races and live music, takes place Aug. 6 at 4 p.m. on the Greenway Trail in Boone.
Ryan was lost to a rare cancer called sarcoma, which affects the connective tissues of the body, such as nerves, muscles and bones. He had Ewing's sarcoma, which occurred in his rib cage
Fifteen thousand new cases of sarcoma are discovered each year in the U.S. It accounts for 1 percent of all cancer diagnoses. One out of every five occurrences of childhood cancer is a form of sarcoma.
Although statistics validate it as a rare disease, Watauga County is no stranger to sarcoma.
Vilas resident Erin Isaacs lost her battle with osteosarcoma at age 20 in 2008. Will Dicus, who attended Watauga High School with Ryan, also fought Ewing's sarcoma until 2009, when he died at age 18.
"It's a cruel cancer," Glenny said. "It's devastating to these kids."
Dicus and Ryan Glenny were very active teenagers, involved in extracurricular and school sports. What were thought to be sports injuries in both of the boys were eventually revealed as malignant tumors. John Glenny said one the biggest reasons for starting Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run was to raise awareness of sarcoma.
"So many of these kids are triple athletes - they're vibrant, healthy and physically talented," he said. "With this cancer being so rare, very often, children who have it go undiagnosed for a very long time."
Glenny said childhood cancer is something that people do not want to think about and never expect, but parents need to be more aware of it.
"If you have a child and they have a persistent pain anywhere, check it out," he said. "Take them to the doctor. It can make a difference."
Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run has already impacted many lives in the High Country and the surrounding area. Since 2008, Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run has raised more than $15,000 to fight sarcoma. Up to 150 people have participated in the run each year.
Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run contributes money to the families of young people in Watauga County affected by cancer and organizations that assist them in their battle. Past recipients of funds generated from the event include the Ronald McDonald House and the family of Will Dicus.
Dirk Krause stressed the importance of the community involvement in the event. "Everyone should come out for this good cause," he said. "A community coming together over this really can change things for a family."
The fourth annual Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the family of Moses Haley, a 4-year-old in Watauga County with rapto mayosarcoma. The Haley family was honored by last year's event, as well.
Attendees of the Rock N' Roll Run can participate in either a 1-mile, 5K, or 5-mile race.
"You can run, walk, crawl, or ride a bike," Glenny said. "We just want you to come out."
The "Rock N' Roll" in Ryan's Run consists of live performances from musicians located at different points of the race. Tim and Lennon Redford, friends of the Glenny family, have performed at the event every year and return again this year. The Major Sevens and at least two other groups will provide additional entertainment.
Participants in Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run can register online at http://www.RyansRockNRollRun.com through Aug. 5. They can also register early on Aug. 5 at the covered picnic area across from the Boone National Guard Armory. The early registration fee is $25. Registration will also take place the day of the event for a fee of $30. The registration fee includes a Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run T-shirt and a barbecue plate. Spectators can also enjoy barbecue for a $5 donation.
The fourth annual Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run kicks off at 4 p.m. on Aug. 6. Ryan's Run will take place on Boone's Greenway Trail, with the race start point located at the covered picnic area across from the armory.
For more information about Ryan's Rock N' Roll Run, visit http://www.RyansRockNRollRun.com or contact Dick Krause at (828) 266-1406.