Beating the Odds: Ryan Hartman’s Fight

The story of STJ Flyer basketball player Ryan Hartman

VICTORIA, Texas — February means playoff basketball, and on Tuesday, the Flyers found themselves fighting for an area-round win. But 120 miles up the road, on a makeshift court tucked behind his new home in Houston, 16-year old Ryan Hartman faces a different fight — taking it one dribble, and one day at a time.

“We have a house, a good home, the dogs, wherever they are,” says Hartman. “Everything I could ask for, other than to be healthy.”

At a glance, Ryan and his twin brother, Ethan are prototypical, American teenagers. The two are JV basketball players at St. Joseph’s who share a deep love for basketball.

But on November 27th, severe swelling in Ryan’s neck resulted in a trip to the hospital and five days later, the family received devastating news — Ryan was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia, also known as “T-ALL”.

“It really takes you back,” said Amy Hartman, Ryan’s mother. “That’s the last thing you wanna here.”

In the meantime, Ryan and his family have temporarily relocated to Houston while he receives treatment at MD Anderson Hospital. Ryan and Ethan are currently completing online classes with the hope of returning to Victoria in August 2020.

Since the diagnosis, the Flyer boys basketball team has worn warmups with the message, “Hoops 4 Hartman”. Head coach Michael Blank said its a testament to how beloved Ryan is in the community.

“He’s one of those guys who you inspire to be more like, and you want your kids to grow up to be like,” said Blank. “If I had a choice, a mold to be able to say, ‘this is how I want my kid to turn out’, it would just like Ryan and Ethan Hartman.”