CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Senior night is always an emotional night for high school athletes but even more so in Cedar Springs on Friday.
Ryan Smith an 18-year-old senior was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the season last year.
While he couldn't be at the game due to a recent surgery, his teammates made sure his presence was felt.
On senior night, players from the boy’s and girl’s basketball teams donned some new warm-up shirts and some new colors.
The shirts read “#RyanStrong” on the back is Cedar Springs Senior Ryan Smith’s number 20.
“It’s hard. They played with him all throughout grade school and as soon as they found it, the first thing they wanted to know is what can we do to help,” Cedar Springs Boy’s Varsity Basketball Coach James Telman said.
Smith a senior varsity basketball player couldn't make it to his senior night Friday, he’s recovering after undergoing surgery to remove a large tumor from his skull.
But alongside his teammates before the game Friday, Ryan’s mom received a standing ovation.
Coach James Telman says Smith's fight has been inspiring for so many.
“Ryan is that kid that you don’t have to ask to work hard, he has that self-motivation that you can teach, he has that ability to just kind of take whatever is given to him, he takes it in wonderful strides.
“He’s very positive in all things he’s done, especially right now with cancer, I can only hope that I can be as positive as he is and as strong as what he’s shown us.
When Smith was diagnosed with cancer, his teammates and community immediately had his back to show their support they’ve been holding fundraisers to help his family out and keeping #RyanStrong, at the top of their minds.
“Its just kind of a reoccurring thing that you see here in the community here,” Telman added.
If you couldn’t be there tonight but would like to help the Smith family, click here.