Ryan Robert Viator was born on August 30, 1979. "From birth, our blonde haired, hazel-eyed baby boy was extraordinary." He was loving and tenderhearted, always willing to give to others.
He had a deep laugh that was contagious to all who came into contact with him. Ryan was adventurous, enjoying the outdoors and riding dirt bikes and Harleys. He was very mindful of staying healthy and being in shape. At age 20, he was the proud owner of a local health club, inspiring others in his community to live a healthy lifestyle.
April 7, 2000 began like any other south Louisiana day for the Viator family. Ryan’s mom, Shawnee, enjoyed great conversation with Ryan over the phone. Little did she know, a few, short hours later his young life would end. Ryan’s giving heart and love for life and others was made more evident than ever before as he became a hero that day. In the midst of their incredible tragedy, Ryan’s family reached beyond their grief and asked about organ donation. Ryan’s liver and kidneys saved the lives of three people.
Almost thirteen years later, Ryan’s life continues to make an impact on his community. Ryan’s family has dedicated their lives to ensuring the public is better informed about the importance of organ and tissue donation. "Each year, we partner with LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency) as a major sponsor for LOPA’s two largest fundraisers,” says Shawnee.
Shawnee states, "Ryan was adventurous, and he was a risk-taker. He had many journeys of the heart. There were two things in life he dreamed of doing but never had the chance to accomplish – flying in a fighter jet and visiting California. We were excited to find out one of Ryan’s recipients is a retired Air Force pilot. We feel like Ryan’s dream has come true by giving new life to this recipient and flying through him. Ryan’s final dream will become a reality on January 1, 2013, when the face of our blonde haired, green-eyed hero will be on display for the entire world to see in Pasadena, CA.” Oh the places Ryan dreamed of going and, even in death, he is accomplishing more than he could’ve ever imagined!