Ryland was born on October 9, 2003, to Gabe and Melissa Harris in Manassas, Virginia. Diagnosed with a grade 4 glioblastoma in May of 2020, Ryland’s story became an inspiration to the community for 16 months before complications from the disease took him from us much too soon. Ryland lived in Gainesville, Virginia and attended Brentsville District High School where he was a baseball player, a wrestler, a football player, and a member of the Turf Grass cabinet.
Ryland was an old soul, wise and mature beyond his years, able to interact as well with adults as he did with peers from a very young age. He was immeasurably kind and constantly sought to bring joy to as many people as possible. He befriended everyone he met and made sure no one was ever left out. His huge radiant smile endured through even the most difficult challenges; nothing could wipe it from his face. He was the best son, brother, student, teammate, and friend anyone could ever ask for, always putting others before himself. It was always easy to see why everyone loved Ryland.
From the age of 4 Ryland was active in sports, almost year-round. His absolute favorite thing to do was to play baseball. He enriched the lives of hundreds of teammates and families that had the pleasure of being around him on the ball field. His encouraging cheers would leave a lasting impression on teammates, opponents, umpires, and onlookers. He had the discipline to put in hours of extra work, lifting weights, working on drills, hitting off the tee, either by himself if necessary or with anyone else who wanted to work. In addition to baseball, he played football and wrestled, and loved working out to push his physical limits.
A tenacious competitor, he was always one hundred percent loyal to his friends and teammates, both on and off the field. He was always the first and loudest to cheer on his teammates, as fully committed to and enthusiastic about their success as he was his own. He had the most tireless work ethic, driving everyone around him to do and be better. He wasn’t just unafraid of hard work, he sought it out so he could conquer it. He wanted to prove to himself and anyone who took notice that he was up to any and every task. From the time he could walk and talk he was fiercely independent and would rather struggle on his own than put any one out by asking them for help.