Community steps up in support of local father

Community steps up in support of local father
KENNEWICK -- It is life-altering news that comes out of nowhere. A local family was blind-sided two weeks ago when they found out their loved one had an aggressive form of cancer. If the sheer news of the disease wasn't bad enough as it is the family is also faced with a mound of medical bills.

It's the reason why friends held a giant fundraiser for the family. The outpouring of support from the community was truly overwhelming.

Anyone who knows Ryan Strege, knows two things. He is an avid horse enthusiast and his love for his family is unwavering. Adam Wittner is Ryan's brother in law:

"He's an awesome person and an amazing father to the girls," he says.

"Ryan is an amazing guy. Big heart. He'll do anything for you. He'll give you the shirt off his back," says Amanda Matthiessen, a close friend of the family.

So it was with heavy hearts as the Strege's got the news a little more than two weeks ago. Ryan had stage four malignant melanoma. After spending the last week receiving treatment in Seattle, Ryan decided he would rather spend the rest of his time with his family. That's when friends sprung into action.

"When we found out, I helped put this together, produce it, said, let's gets this thing going," says Amanda.

When she got the news, she wasted no time setting up a barrel race fundraiser. An event that not only brought the community out in support, but hits close to home with the family.

"Wa just want to raise enough for medical bills, maybe get them some hay, help with any utilities," Amanda added.

"It means a lot that people actually step up and care about us and how much people care in this community," says Audrey Strege.

Ryan's three daughters Bailey, Audrey, and Emily, were overwhelmed by the amount of support their family has received.

"Everything that everyone has done is amazing. We couldn't ask for anything else. It's amazing what everyone has done," says Emily. The eldest of the Strege girls.

And even though the outlook is not ideal, no one in this community is ready to give up on Ryan. Amanda is in high spirits.

"It's grim, but we're staying optimistic. We're doing the best to we can to stay positive. That's all you can do now a days," she says.

And so in the midst of so much pain, the support of community shines through.

Organizers of the event hope to raise 20 thousand dollars for medical bills.