Nearly six months have passed since the death of Lampeter-Strasburg grad and former hoops standout Ryan Smith, who died March 22 after a 19-month battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
But his memory is very much still alive on several fronts. More recently, East Stroudsburg University hosted a the inaugural #RelentlesS Get in the Game bone marrow drive at the home opener of the Warriors' football game Sept. 2.
After becoming the L-S all-time leading scorer, Smith went on to play at East Stroudsburg. Prior to his arrival on campus, ESU men's basketball coach Jeff Wilson picked a word to motivate his players: Relentless. The word has stuck with the program ever since, and from August 2019 forward, Smith took that word to push him forward in his cancer battle.
The Sept. 2 bone marrow drive at ESU garnered 498 potential donors.
"The goal is to be able to find a match and save a life," Wilson said in a press release. "And this enormously successful drive will hopefully find one or more donors."
The drive was one among many that have been held in Smith's memory over the last six months. For patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases, a bone marrow or cord blood transplant may be their best or only hope for a cure. Yet 70% of patients who need a transplant to do not have a fully matched donor in their family. If interested in becoming a bone marrow donor, visit bethematch.org.
Additionally, three scholarships have recently been established in Smith's name. Information on each and how to donate is provided below.
Ryan N. Smith Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship will be awarded annually to a Lampeter-Strasburg senior who wants to further his or her education with a relentless spirit similar to Smith. This deserving senior is a student who encourages and brings out the best in all people, is genuinely pursuing a passion by being determined, humble, kind and faithful. It will be awarded by Smith's parents. For further information on how to donate, contact Kim Smith at 717-468-7068.
Ryan N. Smith Youth Scholarship Fund: Organized through Millersville Community Church, this fund helps assist youth financially so they are able to take part in trips, camps or programs. To donate, visit giving.ncsservices.org/App/Giving/ncs-1914.
Ryan N. Smith Endowed Scholarship Fund: The ESU Foundation and ESU Warriors basketball program are working to establish this fund to be part of the hoops program in perpetuity in order to forever honor Smith's leadership and impact he had on his teammates. If interested in being part of this effort, contact the ESU Foundation at 570-422-3333 or coach Wilson at 484-767-2634.