Ryan Tate, a former butterfly specialist at Northwestern University from 2015-19, has been undergoing intense chemotherapy since being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in January. But he’s not in this fight alone.
His twin brother, Sean Tate, started a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses that has already raised nearly $15,000 of its $50,000 goal in less than a week thanks to almost 150 donations. What’s more, after recently learning that Ryan is now in remission, Sean volunteered to be the donor for his bone marrow transplant scheduled for later this month.
“Ryan was a fierce competitor in the pool and is taking that fierceness to the cancer,” Sean wrote on the GoFundMe page. “Even when he lost his trademark curly hair, had to manage diabetes, and became unable to play the piano due to chemo side effects, Ryan remained resolute. In his words: ‘I just want to get this done.'”
After graduating from Northwestern, Ryan moved to France and worked as an English teacher. Sean also swam collegiately, graduating from Duke as the school record holder in the 100 IM (51.11). Sean now works as the program coordinator for Duke’s Athletic Civic Engagement Program.
You can read the full GoFundMe description from the Omaha natives below:
My identical twin brother and best friend Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in January 2023 and has been undergoing intense chemotherapy to treat it. Prior to this, he was a student-athlete at Northwestern University and after graduating lived and worked in France as an English teacher. Ryan was a fierce competitor in the pool and is taking that fierceness to the cancer. He loves to play the piano, learn languages, hang out with his group of very good friends, keep in shape, and most of all loves talking to me all day every day.To say that Ryan has made his cancer journey look easy is an understatement. His first round of chemo lasted for a month, with the hope that it would put the ALL into remission. During this month he underwent chemotherapy several times a week, including corticosteroids, which can induce diabetes at high doses. Throughout this difficult journey, Ryan has rarely complained. Even when he lost his trademark curly hair, had to manage diabetes, and became unable to play the piano due to chemo side effects, Ryan remained resolute. In his words: “I just want to get this done.”After the first month of treatment, remission was not achieved. Ryan’s response was, “Alright what’s next?”. After another round of chemotherapy, Ryan learned he was close to remission, but not quite there. After additional targeted therapy and consultation with oncologists and transplant physicians at both the University of Nebraska and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Ryan is now in remission and is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant in June. I have the privilege to be the donor.Ryan really has been determined and steadfast throughout this journey with no doubt that he would recover. The only thing that has weighed on this mind is the bills that have been mounting. This journey is not cheap, and insurance has not covered all of the expenses to date or the costs that will continue to be incurred.One way I and others can help to eliminate some of the financial worries is through this GoFundMe page. Any donation is appreciated and will be used to assist in Ryan’s medical treatments and recovery.“Thank you” does not even touch the immense amount of appreciation my family and I feel for your kindness.