Our Lady of Lourdes School
A Tribute to Ryan Youngman


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(As read at Ryan's Funeral Mass, Friday, September 19, 2008)

Hello, and good morning. My name is Joe Jankowski and today I wanted to say a few words about my good friend Ryan Youngman. Ryan has been a part of my life for 9 years now and every day our bond seemed to have gotten stronger. I remember just about everyday I ever spent with him either at school or the countless times he slept over my house or came over for play dates when we were younger. Ryan was always happy and always telling me things about baseball and the Yankees that me, as big as a Yankees fan I am, I never knew. He was the first kid from my class I saw when I got to school because he was always on the early bus so we would always hang out in the morning we kind of just walked around the schoolyard and talked about things. There are two images that are always in my mind when I think about Ryan: our last basketball game in 2006 when he scored 4 points and had a smile that went from ear to ear, and the other one is the one day me and Ryan had a plan to put glue on a girl in our classes seat so I ran over and put some on and Ryan said “Joe you didn’t put enough on” so he rushed over and smeared the glue on the seat.

Up until Ryan got sick I always kind of took friendship for granted because I thought that no matter what, nothing like this would ever happen to me. But the day me and my classmates found out about Ryan’s illness my world really stopped spinning. I wondered how he was ever going to make it through this. But as the summer progressed I heard he was doing better. It seemed like he was going to start to get better and he had plans to come back to school in late April of 2007. Then I heard he had a really bad week so my friend Anthony and I went to his house to visit him and we stayed from 2:00 to 8:00. I remember going to school the next day and saying, "Wow, he looked a lot better than I thought he would." From that day up until September 3rd I visited him about 10 times and I always had a lot of fun playing video games and watching the Yankees…lose, but nevertheless we always laughed and enjoyed ourselves. I guess what I’m trying to say is this is a loss that will hurt me for a long time and I will never forget Ryan and the most important thing about this experience is that I made a really good friend and he went from a friend to a hero. I know right now Ryan is watching over us and laughing when my class makes a joke and yelling at the Yankees when they lose. I thank you and Ryan if you hear me up there I just want to say I love and miss you.