NAUGATUCK — He’s a healthy-looking 18-year-old young man with a charming personality and a keen intellect.
At first glance, one wouldn’t know he’s battling a crippling disease.
Yet Ryan Trochsler, a junior at Naugatuck High School, has cystic fibrosis, a progressive disease that affects the lungs, liver, pancreas, digestive system and reproductive system. In an effort to control the effects, he takes 27 medications a day and consumes between 3,500 and 5,000 calories daily because his body requires a high caloric intake. He also has diabetes, caused by cystic fibrosis, for which he takes an additional six insulin shots daily.
“Every single day, I work hard to stay healthy,” he said.
Still, he has many of the side effects of the disease, which include wheezing, shortness of breath, a chronic and persistent cough with excessive mucus, poor weight gain and poor growth, decreased pulmonary functions, repeated lung infections, scarring of lungs, intestinal blockages, osteoporosis, CF arthritis and salty sweat. He has been hospitalized 16 times in his young life, or roughly once a year.
The medical bills for his condition are staggering. Ryan’s parents, Tammy and Michael Troschler, have insurance with a $7,000 deductible, meaning many costs come out of pocket.
Because of that, family friends are holding fundraisers.
The first Ryan’s Rock ‘n’ Golf Benefit was held last year. The second in what will be an annual event will be held this Sunday. The event begins at 11:30 a.m., rain or shine, at Hawk’s Landing Country Club in Southington. Tee time is at 1 p.m. The tournament costs $135 per individual golfer or $125 for golfers who have a foursome.
Tammy Trochsler said she’s overwhelmed with the support for her son, whom she refers to as an angel and an amazing young man who is more concerned with others than himself.
Ryan Trochsler is equally pleased with the outpouring of support.
“It’s a really good feeling to see people helping,” he said.
He will probably play the first nine holes on Sunday. And why wouldn’t he? Ryan doesn’t let anything get him down.
He knows all of the statistics — that the median age of survival for those with cystic fibrosis is in the mid-30s. And yet he won’t let those, or anything else, stop him.
He loves basketball, camping, music, writing rap songs and even writing mystery stories. One day, he wants to be a professional writer, perhaps of mysteries or thrillers.
And if there is anyone who can do it, it’s Ryan, Tammy Trochsler said.
“Ryan inspires people,” she said. “He’s brave, he’s courageous and he uplifts everyone. … He’s my hero.”
For information on Ryan’s Rock ‘n’ Golf Tournament, call Jenn at (203) 704-0509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.