It would be a disservice to his spirit to describe Joey as a person with Muscular Dystrophy before describing him as an alive, funny, opinionated, and deeply loving person. Many who remember Joey do not remember his chair, but rather his love for laughter, movies, margaritas and many other antics.
Joey was diagnosed with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy as an infant. His doctors gave him a life expectancy of two years. Although his disease continued to progress throughout the years, with aid of an electric wheelchair, Joey was able to live a full life before losing his battle at 22.
Joey was adamantly independent and constantly pursued opportunities to be “like everyone else.” Joey had a contagious passion for life and never met a stranger. He refused to allow his disability to become an obstacle to his ability. Touching others with his warm demeanor and charismatic personality came effortlessly to Joey.
Joey was a student at Hebron High School and later Collin County Community College. He earned the first ever trophy for the new high school with during a bowling tournament with his best friend Reggie Swanson. Joey was the manager of both the Hebron Hawks baseball and football teams. Hawk football spectators could find Joey basking in Texas Friday night lights carrying the “Bring The Wood” spirit stick around on his wheelchair. On the baseball field, Joey was in charge of “dragging” the field; Coach Stone cleverly attached a field drag to the back of Joey’s chair and made it his responsibility to tend to the dirt field. Tributes to Joey’s involvement can still be found on the Hawk Baseball field in Carrollton, Texas.
At Collin College, Joey was able to live on his own as any other college freshman would. Before his health complicated his lifestyle, Joey completed several general education classes and was pursuing a degree in Forensic Science.
Joey was survived by both his mother and father (Cyndi and Tim Ryan), his two younger sisters (Daiquiri and Hope Ryan), and his younger brother (Jaxon Ryan). Together they founded the Joey Ryan Foundation, and seek to carry on Joey’s legacy for years to come.