photo:Lisa Augustine
Lisa Augustine
Manager, Media Relations
photo:Jake Jacobson
Jake Jacobson
Director, Public Relations
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Kansas City,
05:11 PM

WIN for KC: Extraordinary 12-year-old Ryleigh defies odds while inspiring others

Ryleigh was honored with the 2017 Children's Mercy Youth Sports Girl Award


Ryleigh Patience's passion, hard word and determination sets her apart from many girls her age. When she was three years old, Ryleigh was diagnosed with Hurler's Syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes a buildup of sugar waste molecules on her bones, muscles and organs resulting in countless medical procedures, surgeries and stunted growth. She was told she would live to be ten "if she was lucky."

Now twelve, Ryleigh lives an active life playing softball - which is unique as many children with Hurler's Syndrome cannot participate in sports. Don't let her small four-foot-tall stature on the field fool you, Ryleigh is one special girl with an infectious smile and spirit.

Along with her love of the game, Ryleigh has a special relationship with the Mizzou softball team. When Ryleigh met her role model, Dot Richardson, at a collegiate tournament through Make-A-Wish, she also got the opportunity to meet the women of the Mizzou softball team. What resulted was Ryleigh becoming "something special" for the University of Missouri. Both players and coaches say Ryleigh is a part of the team. She is easily the most popular person in the ballpark, serving as an inspiration and reminder that there is more to life than just the game. She's an extraordinary girl with a fighting spirit, huge heart and an even bigger desire to be a part of the game.


Find out more about the WIN for KC awards.

Learn more about The Children's Mercy Division of Clinical Genetics.

Learn more about The Center for Sports Medicine at Children's Mercy.