Local bands played a benefit gig Nov. 14 at Pete’s Lounge in Godfrey to help Ryan Grant, pictured with his daughter, Sarah.
GODFREY — Pete’s Lounge was the place to be Nov. 14 for Rally Around Ryan, a benefit for a local man, Ryan Grant.
Several local bands, including members who came out of retirement for the gig, played from 5 to 10 p.m. to raise funds to help the family cover medical and living expenses.
At the age of 8, Grant was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. As a child, it was essential for his family to plan his meals ahead and to make sure he took his insulin with him everywhere.
As he got older, however, Grant started experiencing other problems related to the disease.
“I started having problems with my eyes in 1996,” Grant said. “I had laser eye surgery and other surgeries to my eyes.”
After several more years of complications, the 45-year-old spent a week in the hospital last October, where he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. He now receives dialysis treatments three times a week.
Once Shawn Yates, one of Grant’s lifelong friends, heard about the diagnosis, she decided that the only thing to do was spring into action and organize a benefit.
For Yates, it didn’t matter that the family had not asked for assistance.
“When we all found out about it; it just kind of all fell together,” she said. “It’s not that they had to ask for help. We offered the help.”
Along with friends Amy Jones Hillary, James Leady and Michele Collet Grant, Yates was able to organize the event at Pete’s Lounge in only three and a half weeks.
Seven bands played, including Grass and Stone, Half Pint and the Prairie Girls, Trudy and Friends, 33 on the Needle, Same Old Explosion, Peanut Butter Jam, and Grant’s own band, Agents of the Free, for which he played guitar until diabetic neuropathy in his hands necessitated the switch to keyboards.
Agents of the Free bass player Doug Bush was responsible for rounding up the bands for the event.
“He just celebrates life,” Bush said. “He has a positive attitude, and he’s gone through a lot. He offers a lot of help, and does what he can for people, even in his situation.”
Yates knows this all too well. Grant was there for her when she needed him the most.
“He kind of mentored me, helped me through everything, with my son being a diabetic,” she said. “He’s been my son’s mentor, and helped my son.”
Grant says is aware of how fortunate he is to have so many people in his life who care about his well-being, including his wife of 16 years, Kristin.
“I couldn’t have endured this without her,” he said. “She was there every day, supported me, and helped me out. It’s been humbling, the way people have stepped up, and to the level which they’ve stepped up.”
The couple also has a 15-year-old daughter, Sarah.
The benefit raised money that helped with some medical bills, but the ever-increasing expenses still are overwhelming for the family. An online fundraiser has been set up at www.gofundme.com; search “Rally Around Ryan.”