In April 2019 our friend Ryan Rigley suffered a violent seizure and was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. Though he previously had no symptoms whatsoever, MRI and CT scans showed that almost the entirety of his left brain was mysteriously inflamed. Doctors say they've never seen an MRI like that without the patient suffering from severe cognitive and physical malfunctions, yet Ryan remains one of the most clever and consistently stable people we've ever had the privilege to know. After spending over 12 days in the hospital with his partner Stephanie Twyford Baldwin never leaving his side, they took every test imaginable to find a final diagnosis, yet were unable to shed more light on his condition. With brain cancer remaining a strong possibility, a team of top NYC neurologists felt an invasive biopsy was the only option.
The surgery resulted in the removal of a golf-ball sized chunk of Ryan’s brain for examination by some of the best pathologists from Lenox Hill and Sloan Kettering. Now, aside from infusion therapy, Stephanie and Ryan must simply wait for the results. Since the procedure, Ryan has been experiencing intense confusion. For a while, the only thing he could remember was Stephanie’s name and what she meant to him. He did not know what city he lived in, nor did he know his birthday. Over time, he could remember the city he was in, only if you asked for the specific address of where he and Steph live; his birthday, if asked to spell out his name. Due to his physical health being stable, and biopsy results taking a week or two to arrive, his medical team deemed it safe for him to continue treatment as an outpatient, as long as he is cared for full time.
Ryan is a gentle, caring, thoughtful, funny, and extremely talented young man whom we all love deeply. His status of being in a life long partnership with Stephanie extends beyond their home/love life, and into their careers as a filmmaking team. They are directors, writers, and actors, who have spent years growing together and creating together through their production company, Part Time Hooligan. They were just starting the process of making their first feature film, but like all of their life plans together, this tragic anomaly forced everything to be put on hold. You may have seen Ryan’s sketch comedy horror anthology, "Cryptina's Spook-Time Variety Show” (starring/edited by Stephanie), which recently played at Portland Horror Film Festival, Third Eye Film Festival, New Jersey Horror Con And Film Festival, Orpheus Horror-Comedy Film Festival, Frostbiter Icelandic Horror Film Festival, and Panic Fest. His most recent acting role is in the music video for "Apathy" by Frankie Cosmos directed by Tom Scharpling of The Best Show.
Whatever results they receive about Ryan's diagnosis, whether it be brain cancer or an extremely rare disorder, as the doctors believe, the affected area is too large and in high risk sections of the brain to be removed through surgery alone. The treatment Ryan may undergo will be undeniably long and costly, even with health insurance. Just getting a bed in the hospital on his first day totaled over $4000 in co-pays. With Steph unable to work as she cares for him full-time, and the limits of Ryan’s sick leave remain uncertain, they may soon have no income at all to pay for basic needs like rent and food, let alone medical treatment.
Ryan and Stephanie need all the help they can get as they face this sudden illness and fight it together hand-in-hand. Because both of Ryan's parents passed away from cancer when he was in his teens then early 20s, and Stephanie became independent at an extremely young age, they have no one to turn to for financial help. Donors and followers of this GoFundMe will receive updates on Ryan's recovery and diagnosis. Please donate what you can and help these wonderful people in an extremely difficult time.
- Jared Butler
- Michael Rossetti
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