Courtesy of Jessica Thompson
Strength and Hope stayed with this Bulldog
Oak Hills High School alum's fight against cancer ends
January 26, 2017
When Ryan Kistner graduated from Oak Hills High School, he had plans. He made his way to attend Chaffey College where he proudly wore his #54 Panthers jersey. He spoke of one day being a firefighter.
Sadly, this beloved alum, one of Oak Hill High School’s finest, passed away on January 22, 2017. Ryan Kistner lost his battle to a rare bone cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma. He was the son of OHHS Varsity Football Coach Robert Kistner.
Ryan was only 20 years old.
Ryan graduated from OHHS in 2013, leaving memories with those who knew him. On the field he was #72 (an OHHS Lineman), and was also a recognized leader in OHHS’ ASB and Red Army. Anyone who knew Ryan would remember his smile and praise his heart.
As an active ASB student, Vice Principal of Activities Genevieve Johnston recalls, “Ryan has always been kind-hearted, loving and loyal since the first day I met him.”
James Kutch, teacher and OHHS Tennis Head Coach, remembers, “Ryan was one of my favorite students and a truly outstanding human being.”
Upon Ryan’s diagnosis, support for the Kistner family emerged. The fight for Ryan began and Ryan’s Army was created. #RyansArmy was an OHHS social media movement that wanted to show Ryan that the community supported him. Sultana High School and Serrano High School supported Ryan and the Kistner family as Ryan underwent numerous treatments for his condition. T-shirts were sold, stickers were distributed, and Oak Hills High School, Sultana High School, and Serrano High School set aside their differences to show camaraderie for Ryan.
“Ryan was a young, strong man that made everyone around him smile,” OHHS Coach Omar Lopez recalls. “[He] fought till the end, [he] will be missed but not forgotten! #72 #KistnerStrong.”
People believed in #RyansArmy and soon the friends of Ryan from Chaffey College started the #KistnerStrong movement, garnering the support of students from the college. Ryan, at age 20, was a football player at Chaffey College who aimed to be a firefighter.
There was hope. There was something Ryan could see online whether he was in the hospital or at home that showed him that our community was there for him. That community remained with him until the end.
Like many of his supporters, Ryan did not give up.
Before Coach Kistner took a leave of absence to be with his son and family, when asked about Ryan, Coach Kistner would explain that Ryan was in great spirits even with his treatments. Coach Kistner would take a breath, hold his head high, and be proud of the son who holds the spirit of the bulldog.
“He was a genuinely nice person, and well-liked by all. He was intelligent, kind-hearted, funny, and had many friends.” English teacher Trisha Clark recalls, “His life was cut too short, and we are very sad he is gone.”
Ryan Kistner’s Service will take place on Thursday, 2/2/17 at 11 A.M at Hillside Community Church 3221 Hwy 2 Wrightwood, CA 92397