Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Meet the "Mayor" of SoHo

In some very recent and exciting news,
Ryan was featured in his neighborhood's newspaper,
South Tampa Community News.

After practically begging the world of Facebook to scan me a copy,
I finally got my Dad to snag one while in the 'hood today
and I just read it for the first time.

I am so very proud of this article. 
Ryan is a big staple in his community,
and I couldn't have been more pleased with the community's appreciation.

The publisher of this paper was Bill Sharpe, 
also known as SoHo Bill.
I say was because Bill died very tragically the day this article was released.
Bill was a great friend of Ryan's,
and he told me how much he loved Ryan as a friend when I spoke to him just 3 months ago.
I wanted to take a minute of this post to tell you all of this
because Bill Sharpe is also responible for giving the homeless of Tampa employment.
Please pick up a copy of Tampa Epoch when you see it on the side of the road.
You'll not only be helping the homeless earn an honest living,
but also honoring someone who gave character and devotion to the city. 
Thanks, Bill, for being such a good friend to Ryan and to Tampa Bay.
You will be missed.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Here is the article:



Meet Ryan - The "Mayor" of SoHo
by Amy Lassiter

When I walked into MacDinton's to meet with Ryan Shuck recently, I knew instantly that I had met a new friend. His kind eyes and infectious smile greeted me, and as we ordered our drink and went to our table, every one there stopped to say hello. Later, Ryan boasted that he has checked into MacDinton's 44 times in two months on his favorite application called "Foursquare." With so many "check-ins" at his favorite establishment and so many greetings sent his way, it didn't take me long to understand why Ryan has been crowned "The Mayor" of SoHo; he is a friend to all.

In addition to socializing, Ryan enjoys tech gadgets, is an avid sports fan, dabbles in a bit of sales, works out twice a week, and spends time volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. Amazing feats for this 30 year old who 28 years ago, when he was 18 months old, was in an automobile accident with his parents. Left with a permanent disability, Ryan endured nearly 30 surgeries and spent a good amount of his formative high school years in a body cast.

Not to be deterred, Ryan did his best to stay as involved as he could in sports. He went to every football and basketball game and became the basketball stats recorder. He played in a challenger baseball league, learned to drive with one hand and one foot, graduated high school and went on to obtain a bachelor's degree from University of Tampa in Sports Management.

Ryan's sister, Kellyn Gowen, recently wrote to tell us that she will be running this April's 116th Boston Marathon with Team Hoyt in honor of her brother. Team Hoyt is father/son team - Dick (72) has pushed his son Rick (50) in more than 1,000 races over the past 30 years. Rick is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy and Ryan has a similar diagnosis. According to Kellyn, "Ryan has overcome incredible obstacles, and he is my hero. This race just so happens to coincide with the 29th anniversary of his accident."

"This is a really important cause to me, and even though my brother has been rather bashful during this whole fundraising campaign, I want him to know how much he has inspired others, including myself. My main goal of the run is the raise awareness for the disabled children, so that they can have the greatest of opportunities in their sometimes-restricting lives. I think that they should have the incredible opportunities and encouragement that my brother was fortunate enough to have. I additionally want able-bodied people to have a greater understanding of these conditions and to perhaps show a little more compassion."

When I asked Ryan what he thought about his sister's endeavor he confided that he is a bit embarrassed about the publicity directed towards him, but that he is "extremely proud" of Kellyn. He is looking forward to traveling to Boston for the first time with some family members, to seeing Kellyn cross the finish line, and to attending a Red Sox and Rays baseball game.

To support Ryan and Kellyn and donate to the Team Hoyt marathon team, visit:

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