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Community rallies around basketball player fighting cancer

Posted at 5:50 AM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 09:52:38-05

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — A community is coming together to support a basketball player in Cedar Springs as he spends part of his senior year off the court to battle cancer.

Ryan Smith, 18, was diagnosed in the fall of 2019 with leiomyosarcoma, a cancer that attacks a person's soft tissue.

Since his diagnosis, Smith had surgery in early February to remove a large sarcoma tumor from his skull.

As Smith works towards a recovery, community members are coming together to raise money for his medical bills.

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser is being held on Friday from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

Nonno's is serving the spaghetti at Cedar Springs High School cafeteria.

Organizers want to remind everyone to wear their #RyanStrong shirts to show Ryan their support.

"Unfortunately, tragedy has stuck our community multiple times. This community is awesome. It’s a real strong community that always comes together to support one another," said John Norton, athletic director of Cedar Springs High School. "This dinner on Friday night is just another instance of our community coming together to support one of their own, and we’re real excited about Friday night."

Tickets are limited and cost $10 at the door. Organizers suggest buying ahead of time so they can have a strong head count of people who plan to attend.

If you aren't able to attend Friday night but would still like to help, you can donate here.

Grand Rapids area native Ryan Gallagher, who went from being a Nashville country artist to starring in an MTV reality show, is hosting a benefit concert for Ryan Thursday night at Putt Putts Bar, 1148 W. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.