BRANDON, Miss. (WJTV) – Hundreds came out to Lakeshore Park for the Third Annual Ryan-man Triathlon.
The race is in memory of a very special boy who spent nearly a lifetime battling a deadly disease.
For the past two years, three-year-old Ryan LaSource stuck by his dad’s side as he shined as the star at his own event.
But after three years battling leukemia, Ryan passed away in June of this year.
“This year is absolutely more challenging as Ryan is not here. He was here last year you know. This is something he loved to see, he loved to see everybody. He loved to see everybody race. He loved to see me, his daddy race,” said Austin LaSource, the father of Ryan LaSource.
The Ryan-man Triathlon raises money for Ryan’s second home at Batson Children’s Hospital.
“A lot of people in Mississippi don’t realize what Batson does and what they’re capable of and they’re able to treat kids with all sorts of terrible illnesses, diseases, cancers and that is the only place in the state of Mississippi that can do that,” said LaSource.
Ryan’s dad says the 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run gives people an idea of the struggle children with illnesses go through every day.
“It’s hard on parents; it’s hard on the caregiver, whoever it is. It’s even harder on the kids. So this race is kind of symbolic to what the kid goes through going through cancer treatment; they run through chemo and all of these different drugs and things like that,” said LaSource.
LaSource says he’s thankful to everyone who came out to support Ryan and the hundreds of other kids fighting illnesses.
In 2015, the Batson Children’s Hospital saw more than 150,000 children from all over the state, including Ryan.