Welcome home #33

Welcome home #33

The west side of Cincinnati is something special and there is no question about it. We can easily say that the west side is like a one big family. Whether news is good or bad, it gets around town pretty easily. Recently, the devastating news of Ryan Custer took the city by storm.

Ryan Custer, a freshman at the time at Wright State, was involved in an accident at a party on Miami University’s campus. He dove into a makeshift pool and landed on his head which later caused him to break one of his vertebrae in his spine. Ryan was considered paralyzed from the neck down. After a few hard weeks, Ryan began to regain feeling in his fingers. This was the start of a long and grueling process. Since then, Ryan has been doing physical therapy to strengthen his muscles in his arms. He still has no feeling in his legs.

Cincinnati Enquirer
Ryan Custer in his Wright State Uniform

Ryan has been to two different physical therapy facilities, one in Chicago and one in Denver. Both have helped him gain strength both physically and mentally. He also was a part of a stem cell research project. Ryan received 10 million stem cells which are supposed to help him on the road to recovery.

After a long awaited return, Ryan came home on August 30 to an ecstatic and heart filled crowd of friends and family. “It’s good to have him back. We can go see him whenever we want. Yeah… it’s just good to have him home.” These words came from Ryan’s cousin, Jake O’Brien, a junior at Elder.

Jake said that he and Ryan have always been close ever since they were little. They would play all the time and just joke around. “If anything, his accident has made us closer. Yeah, it is hard sometimes, but our family and friends really have come together to help him through this.”

A huge help to Ryan’s improvement has been his Go Fund Me page. Their original goal was 100 thousand dollars. The people of Cincinnati and all over came together and exceed that goal and raised $108,824. Another cousin at Elder, Luke Masminster, was ultimately surprised about how much they raised.

“I thought people would donate to his cause, but when I saw the original goal of 100 thousand dollars, I thought they were crazy.” This shows how Cincinnati and the west side come together as a family to support one of our own brothers.

“It’s just awesome to see people from all over help out. It really means a lot.” Luke says he just hopes Ryan can get to his full strength so they can continue what they have been doing all of their lives.

Both Jake and Luke said that even though Ryan might be limited physically right now, they both feel that Ryan is the same personally. He is still cracking jokes and staying positive. That is a true testament to Ryan. He has always been known as the kid with the biggest smile and the funniest jokes. This stays true today.

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at Ryan’s homecoming at Elder on September 3rd. He came out to a standing ovation as he made his way on the floor. #33 was back where he belonged. The Ryan Custer crowd stood and clapped for almost over two minutes. His dad started off the ceremony with an emotional speech about Ryan’s accident and recovery. After his speech, it was Ryan’s turn. There was no surprise that Ryan was going to crack a joke whenever he could to lighten the mood. But Ryan just liked to thank everyone, especially his family. Ryan, just like everyone else, got emotional when speaking to the crowd. He gave a personal shout out to his mom, his cousins and

Ryan talking to people at Elder

his sister Kenzie. After he was done, the people in the crowd were allowed to come down to the floor and talk to Ryan and give him a hug.

If any community is like a big family, it’s the west side. Ryan is and will always be a part of our family. There is no doubt that we all will be with him through his recovery. Prayers do work. We all just need to continue to pray for Ryan and his family. As a kid just a few years younger than Ryan, I was able to know him and watch him play. It’s sad that a kid with so much potential can have it taken away just like that. But what amazes me is that even though Ryan is going through something so tragic, he is doing it with extreme positivity and faith. This is what makes him special.

In the end, we are all happy to have Ryan home. Ryan is back where he belongs, and that’s on the west side of Cincinnati. On behalf of the Elder community I would just like to say, Welcome home #33. B3LI3VE.