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According to WKYC, Ryan was first diagnosed with ependymoma in 2014 after doctors found a tumor in his brain. After three brain surgeries, Ryan has been thriving in his personal life, helping launch the “Little Hands” basketball program at Citizens Academy Southeast.
“We empower young athletes through teaching basketball fundamentals and dribbling skills to increase hand-eye coordination and confidence,” Ryan told WKYC.
When asked if his battle with cancer helped inspire the creation of the program, Ryan said “It’s definitely a driving force, and I have to be on my best behavior at all times so [that] I could be a good leader, and the kids could look up to me.”
Ryan’s father, Harold Rasul, played basketball in college and also coaches at Trinity High School. Harold says “it means a lot” to have his son follow in his footsteps with coaching.
“The fact that he’s just one of these kids who understands his power, realizing, ‘I can lead these little hands.’ And, that’s just a powerful thing,” the father said.
Ryan said his ultimate goal is to make it to the pros.
“I want to make it to the NBA. I want to be a basketball star,” he said.