Ryan Dant was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called mucopolysaccharidosis type 1, or MPS 1. Doctors warned his parents he wouldn’t live to be 10 years old. They were wrong.
The condition, which stunts growth and can cause mental deterioration, proved to be no match for Ryan, despite a few scares.
“It was pretty surreal and scary at the same time,” he told Inside Edition. “My parents and I tried to live a normal life, and live each day like a normal young kid. None of us wanted to think that I was going to die.”
When it appeared Ryan, in high school at the time, wasn’t producing enough of an enzyme that breaks down specific proteins, things didn’t look good. However, neurologist Dr. Elizabeth Maher of UT Southwestern Medical Center came up with a plan. She injected a synthetic version of the enzyme into Ryan’s spinal cord, and it worked.
Now, Ryan has graduated from college with a degree in sports administration at the age of 29.
“Graduating from a four-year university was a goal I wanted to achieve but the struggle began when I was in community college,” he explained. “How was this going to be possible with all the issues I have? Now what’s next?”
Ryan was able to achieve a goal no one expected he would live long enough to complete. Now, he hopes to get a full-time job.
“I love sports,” he said. “My parents told me the night I was born, they went to a Texas Rangers baseball game, and that’s where I get my love for the Rangers.”
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