KC Royals support Ryan's Race

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Emily E. Amyotte
  • 190th Public Affairs
Ryan Ramshaw, 190th Comptroller Flight accounting technician, is a life long sports fan. His life, spent surrounded with sports memorabilia and hours upon hours of baseball practices, was dedicated to the game. He's been a supporter of all area teams, but none compare to his admiration for the Kansas City Royals.

Early last December, Ramshaw went to the emergency room due to extreme pain in his lower back. After many tests, the results came back, showing he had a mass on his spine that was malignant. He was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and his oncologist advised that he start chemotherapy right away. He began his treatments less than a week later.

After spending much of their time in and out of hospitals, the Ramshaw family had taken quite a big hit. Knowing that her son and family were going through a lot, Cathy Ramshaw, Ryan's mother, made a few calls to his favorite baseball team in hopes they could do something to lift her son's spirit.

Later, while Ryan was finishing his first round of chemotherapy, he noticed he had a missed call from someone with a California area code. Confused, he listened to the message and was delighted that the call was from his favorite Royals broadcaster, Rex Hudler.

"He left me a few minute voicemail full of encouraging words," Ryan said. "It was incredible. I couldn't believe that Rex would call me!"

As Ryan continued his treatments, he and Hudler's paths continued to cross. Ryan's neighbors got a signed ball from Hudler at a fundraiser, he received Hudler's book for Christmas, and Hudler called Ryan again to check on him and give encouragement.

"The timing was perfect," Ryan said. "I ended up in the hospital the next day with pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. I spent over a week in the hospital before I was sent home. That was the lowest point for me of this whole journey so encouragement from Rex before it all started was just what I needed."

Since the second call, Ryan and Hudler stayed in touch through occasional text messaging. A few weeks later, Hudler was invited to Forbes Field for a refueling
flight to see the 190th mission first-hand. During his visit, the two finally met face-to-face for the first time. Hudler continued telling Ryan that he needed to come to Kauffman Stadium and even offered him two away-game tickets for when Ryan
would be in Houston for treatment.

In April, the night of the first game, Ryan and his mother made it to the stadium for the Astros home opener.

"My mom and I made it up to will call and picked up our tickets," he described. "I opened up the envelope and looked at the tickets. My jaw dropped. They were row two!"

He and his mom made their way down to their seats that were within earshot of the Royals dugout. The two Royals fans were just little blue dots in a sea of 40,000 orange jerseys. Halfway through the game, Hudler texted Ryan, telling him to turn around and wave towards the announcer box. At this time, Ryan and his mother's faces were
broadcast nationwide as Hudler told Ryan's story to the millions of sports fans.

"Our phones started buzzing with people texting us 'you're on TV!'" he grinned. "We couldn't stop smiling. We couldn't believe the incredible night we had."

But being at the opening game was just the beginning of Ryan's dream week with the Royals. The next day, Hudler gave the Ramshaw duo a personal tour of the field where the Astros were taking batting practice. The Royals began to take the field and one by one, greeted Ryan, shook hands and shared personal stories.

At the end of the day, he was returning home with Drew Butera's signed bat, a signed baseball and countless memories that he will never forget.

"From Salvador Perez to Lorenzo Cain to Alex Gordon and Wade Davis, they were all incredibly down to earth and kind," Ryan said. "The way they are on TV is exactly the same way they are in person. I might be biased, but I don't think there is another team in professional sports that is as kind, genuine and fun-loving as the Royals."

As well as spending quality time with the team, Ryan later found out that footage from his trip made it into the China Times. Royals pitcher and famous Taiwanese baseball player, Chien-Ming Wang, snapped a picture with Ryan and shared his story with the
popular Chinese magazine.

"I couldn't believe it," Ryan exclaimed. "I am still not sure what it says exactly, but it does talk about my fight with cancer."

Ryan and his mother's time spent in Houston will be an unforgettable experience
thanks to the Royals, Cathy explained.

"So many times have I watched Ryan's face light up just watching the Royals play and listening to Rex," Cathy said. "I cannot adequately express my gratitude toward the Royals organization for encouraging and supporting Ryan during the fight of his life."

"The Royals helped me make great memories that I will never forget during a time in my life that I sometimes wish I could forget," Ryan said. "Those few days in April were a dream come true. Rex and the rest of the Royals organization made my mom and me feel like VIPs for the week. Their encouragement lifted my spirits more than they
will ever know. I cannot thank them enough."

It isn't only the Royals who have encouraged Ryan, he and his mother agreed, the 190th and the many great Airmen who surround Ryan have also been a great support system for this time in his life.

"I love bragging about how special Forbes Field is and how special the people are," he said. "Joining during my senior year of high school was one of the best decisions I have ever made."