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Spotlight on … Ryan Farnsworth

2023 YE Holiday Card Donation Hero Ryan Farnsworth 2

A California native, Ryan Farnsworth was diagnosed with ALS in 2015 at the age of 29. Before his diagnosis, Ryan lived with his dad amongst the majestic mountains in Telluride, Colorado. His life was filled with activities, including hiking and mountain biking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. As an adventurous and outgoing person, he had much to look forward to after studying communications in college and volunteering as a teacher in India for a year.

Ryan experienced his first symptoms while working as a server at a steakhouse. He noticed twitching in his upper arms that began moving to his back and legs. Then, his hand function declined, and it became increasingly difficult to perform essential tasks for his job, such as holding a heavy water pitcher. After seeing several neurologists, he received a diagnosis of motor neuron disease from the University of Colorado in January 2015.

He came to see his diagnosis as an opportunity to become a better version of himself and help individuals and families living with ALS through his work as a writer, poet, and inspirational speaker. Ryan reflected and shared his life experiences through his blog/YouTube Channel and his book of poetry, “Seeds of Light Sown.” 

He and his family also participated in many ALS Golden West community outreach events, including our Walks to Defeat ALS in Fresno, Monterey, Santa Rosa, and Silicon Valley, the Napa Valley Ride to Defeat ALS, and our Champions for Care and a Cure. Since 2016, Team Ryan has raised over $80,000 to fuel the search for effective treatments and cures for ALS.

In early January 2019, even though his disease was progressing quickly, he decided to give his time to the #VoiceYourLove campaign to raise ALS awareness and share his thoughts about the importance of love. Sadly, on the evening of February 19, 2019 – the day we shared his “Voice Your Love” story with the world – Ryan Farnsworth died at the age of 32, surrounded by his loving family.

Before his death, Ryan was working on a second book that he asked his family to complete for him. “Insights to Light the Way: Lessons From Life and ALS About Living Well,” which was finished in September 2020, and is a genuinely beautiful must-read. A portion of the proceeds are donated to ALS Golden West.

Ryan’s life and message of love continue to inspire us all. ALS Golden West is forever grateful to Ryan and his family for their dedication to our mission and the ALS community.

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