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Supporters raise money for veteran fighting leukemia

Mark Brighton

Monday, August 04, 2014, 5:13:41 PM
Community raises money for veteran battling leukemia.

Ryan Szprejda had finished serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was looking forward to finally graduating from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and marrying his fiancee. However, everything changed when the 26-year-old veteran was diagnosed with leukemia this past April. 

A show of support
Ryan began to notice he was having trouble breathing and was quickly diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. After undergoing three rounds of chemotherapy, he is now hoping for a bone marrow donor. 

His high school guidance counselor showed his support through setting up a drive in Ryan's name called Be the Match last Tuesday in Wisconsin, according to NBC26 News. 

"Thank you for the support and everything. I mean it's the biggest thing to know that when you need the help, the community and everybody, your loved ones and everybody's here for you," Ryan told the news source.

Community ride to raise money
Ryan's support system didn't stop with the drive - the community is holding a fundraiser for him this weekend. About 200 motorcyclists will take off on a 120-mile journey from Two Rivers to Howard where they will take part in a benefit with food, raffles and live music.

"The mood of the whole ride changes when you know that you're riding for someone. It becomes very emotional," said motorcyclist Tassie Williquette, according to NBC26 News.

Kristi Lawler, Ryan's cousin and the organizer of the event, is amazed at the amount of bikers that stepped up to help Ryan and his fiancee, Casi, who were worried about losing their home due to expensive medical bills.

Casi commented on how Ryan's supporters have filled them with relief amid these financially straining times. With a lot of this stress gone, Ryan can now focus on his health.

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