Ryan Joseph Converse grew up in a large, loving family with strong moral values. He excelled at many different sports and was a popular member of the community. On July 1, 2010, 21-year-old, Ryan was hit by a vehicle in front of his home. He was declared brain dead the next day. His parents, Joe and Vicki Converse, had decided to donate his organs to make "something positive out of this tragedy." Ryan was able to donate two kidneys and a liver that kept three fathers with their families. To keep his memory alive, his family established the Ryan Converse Memorial Foundation that has already raised $12,500 for their local organ recovery agency and other local charities.
Ryan Joseph Converse was born May 23, 1989, the second of two sons in a large, loving family with strong moral values. Ryan was a gifted athlete, participating in baseball, basketball, football and gymnastics throughout his school years. He was very popular and had many friends. He attended Watertown City schools and was working for the family business as a manager.
On July 1, 2010, in the early morning hours, 21-year-old Ryan was hit by a vehicle in front of his home. The next day, he was determined brain dead. His parents, Joe and Vicki Converse, made the decision to donate his organs. "We had to try to make something positive out of this tragedy," they said.
The Converse family was supported by donation professionals from Finger Lakes Organ Donor Network staff. "They were truly very understanding and gracious knowing what was going on emotionally," said Vicki. "Our oldest son, his father and I agreed together that it was the right thing to do. Ryan was scheduled for surgery that evening because his body was starting to shut down. The ICU nurses let everyone there come in and say their goodbyes that night; there must have been 40 to 50 people in the room! We were all broken up."
Ryan was able to donate two kidneys and his liver which kept three fathers from leaving their families. To keep Ryan's memory alive, the family established The Ryan Converse Memorial Foundation in 2010. Since then, they have held two golf tournaments with 55 teams participating, a demonstration of the community outpouring for the Converse family. The tournaments have raised $12,500 for the Finger Lakes Organ Donor Network and other local charities.
"Ryan lives forever helping other people and organizations, and we let everyone know about organ donation and what good it can do," Vicki stated proudly. "This will be Ryan's legacy."