Fundraising campaigns can help someone in need afford medical bills, a new home, or any other necessary item. Such was the case for Mansfield, Ohio police officer Ryan Garner, who learned he had Stage 4 lung cancer. We caught up with Sara Webb, wife of one of the other officers on the police force and one of the organizers for a fundraising campaign for Officer Garner. She told us more of his story. Here’s what she had to say:
Can you tell us more about Officer Garner?
Ryan has been on the Mansfield PD for 9 years, and worked for Fostoria, OH PD for 2 years prior to being employed by Mansfield. He was a SWAT officer for several years, before becoming a K9 officer. His dog’s name is Elliot. He was named Mansfield PD’s 2015 Officer of the Year this past Saturday.
Ryan is a 2003 graduate of Ontario High School (a suburb of Mansfield) and has been married to his wife Jennifer since April 2013. Ryan has always lived a very healthy lifestyle. He was big into Mixed Martial Arts, never smoked and was very physically fit. Ryan injured his back on duty in October, in a struggle with a suspect. When he went to get his back checked, an x-ray revealed a fractured vertebra but also a tumor in his spine. He was later diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
Ryan is a very private person, and he has in no way wanted all this attention for this, but he has impacted so many in this community that we could not let it go unnoticed.
What led you (and others) to start a fundraising campaign for him?
As soon as word began to spread of Ryan’s diagnosis, several of the police wives started a group message on Facebook to begin brainstorming ideas of ways we could raise money and show our support. One of the other wives (Christa Brubaker) found a metal cuff online with the quote “in this family nobody fights alone”… and as a group of women who send their husbands out into the line of fire every day, we truly do feel like one giant extended family and support each other in any way we can.
After some discussion, we decided that a silicone band would be much more comfortable to wear. We knew we wanted our bands to have the quote, the thin blue line to signify the fact that we are a police family, and Ryan’s badge number (248) to support Ryan in his fight.
How successful has your campaign been so far?
Our campaign has been incredible so far. The Mansfield News Journal wrote an article on Ryan and included that the bands were being sold by police wives. We received our bands on Dec. 11, so after that article went out, our pre-orders were filled and we sold at Mansfield’s annual Police Awards Banquet on Dec. 12. We were sold out that night, with several other requests still coming! We went ahead and ordered 1000 more Monday morning. So after selling 500 bands, plus extra donations, we have raised around $2600 (we sold each band for $5). Fox 8 News in Mansfield also did a segment and article on Ryan.
A fellow graduate and employee at Ontario High School started a GoFundMe page for Ryan. Her original goal was just $1000, and that was raised within two hours of her making the GoFundMe public. She then changed the goal to $8000 and that was reached within 2 days. Then she changed it to $10,000 and that was met within eight days, and now the goal is $12,000. It has been incredible.
How did you find The Wristband Factory/TJM?
Once we decided on the design we wanted, I went ahead and did a Google search for “custom wristbands.” After looking at the first couple links, I got to the Wristband Factory and saw they had an option for a free proof & quote. I figured the design we wanted would be easier to go about if I could just get someone to put it together right away, (rather) than trying to design it myself on the internet.
I was incredibly impressed by the quick response I got from Evan & Ron. I believe I had an email back with a proof within 2 hours of sending my request. And then when we decided to go with The Wristband Factory, I sent an email asking about calling in to give my credit card information and I got a call 5 minutes later from you guys. I was just highly impressed with the service. I emailed to reorder on a Saturday, and got a response by 9 a.m. Monday. Just very good service.
While we work on thousands of wristbands every month, we don’t often get to know the stories behind them. We were touched to hear of the outpouring of support for Officer Garner, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his friends and family.
For more about Officer Garner:
To contribute to the GoFundMe account for Officer Garner: