It came as a great surprise when I went to let one of our dogs out Sunday morning that I was smacked in the face by a tree branch. The Saturday evening storm had raised havoc in our backyard, effectively ending our vacation and uprooting two 30 foot tall pines, several smaller trees, a couple of boulders and smashing flower pots, light fixtures and a portion of the rain gutters on our house.
Our Sunday morning surprise was all inconvenience and cosmetic and will be remedied by a tree removal company, a landscaper, an insurance adjuster, an electrician and a rain gutter company.
While looking at Mother Nature’s reminder of “who is boss,” all I could think about was our long time customers, community partners and good friends Lynn and Andy Cunningham, who lost their son Ryan recently at 31 years of age. Ryan died of acute right ventricular myocarditis, an infection in the heart muscle of the right ventricle, a diagnosis that was missed in a recent workup in a Virginia Emergency Room. Acute ventricular myocarditis is the cause of death for between 12%-25% of people under 35.
Ryan Cunningham was smart, passionate, and a forward thinking young man who believed in sustainability, urban planning, the environment, board games, gourmet cooking, star gazing and space. Most importantly, Ryan loved people and was always available to friends, co-workers and family for advice or just a shoulder to lean on. He was keenly interested in new businesses and was involved in Start Up Weekend, a collaborative group that started new businesses in the Washington, DC area. At only 31, Ryan had packed an amazing amount of friends and accomplishments in his short life.
In dealing with the death of their son, Lynn and Andy have been leading a clinic on parenting and being human. With the shock, emotion and reality of their situation, Lynn and Andy have been thinking of their family, friends, all of us.
From Lynn and Andy:
“To young people: share your IT passwords and cell phone passwords with your family or at a minimum, have a system for your family to retrieve them. We were able to guess some of Ryan’s passwords and now can pursue publishing a board game Ryan was working on and possibly pursue a business concept he was working on.”
“Dear Friends of Ryan Cunningham who live away from Central NY, if you want to come to Ryan's services and are struggling with barriers that are preventing you from coming, please PM me and we will see what we can do.”
“Please hug and tell your family how much you love them. Please take care of yourselves and each other. Please watch the NASA satellites and the space station pass over and think of Ryan Cunningham...knowing Ryan, this is what he would be doing if he was home.”
Ryan had a lot of goals, one of which was to follow in the footsteps of his parents and to compete in an Ironman Triathlon. On August 21st, in Quebec, Lynn and Andy will be carrying Ryan’s ashes on the Ironman 140.6 mile journey at Mont-Tremblant to make sure his goal is met.