10-Year-Old Brain Cancer Survivor and His Dad Create ‘Little Hands’ Basketball Program for Children
Ryan Rasul and his father, Harold Rasul, are making a difference in their community in Ohio by starting a youth basketball program named “Little Hands,” following the 10-year-old’s battle with brain cancer.
Cleveland’s WKYC reported that Ryan was first diagnosed with ependymoma in 2014 after a tumor was found in his brain. Cedars-Sinai describes ependymoma as a cancerous tumor that “starts in the brain or spinal cord” and can occur in children and adults.
Those individuals diagnosed with ependymoma can experience various symptoms, depending on where the tumor is found. The list includes seizures, headaches, and mobility issues, to name a few. There are numerous ways to treat ependymoma, such as surgery and radiation therapy.
Following Ryan’s diagnosis, the 5th grader underwent three brain surgeries. Since the operation, Ryan has flourished in his personal life. He also joined forces with his father, using their love for basketball to teach the youth at Citizens Academy Southeast.
On January 7, during an interview with NBC News, Ryan shared what he thought was the best part of being a leader. He said, “My favorite part about being a coach is inspiring other people to pursue their dreams.”
When asked if his story inspired the creation of the program, Ryan explained, “It’s definitely a driving force, and I have to be on my best behavior at all times so [that] I could be a good leader, and the kids could look up to me.”
Further in the discussion, Harold expressed that “it means a lot” to have Ryan following in his footsteps with coaching. He added that this experience would help Ryan understand his purpose and value in life.
When asked how he feels seeing how excited the children are to be a part of the team, Ryan said, “It’s heartwarming. Every time I feel discouraged, or if I feel angry, I just think about those kids that are looking up to me.