Loyola teacher diagnosed with brain tumour, community coming together to raise money

Sean Ryan, a well-loved teacher at Loyola High School in Montreal, has a stage-4 brain tumour. His family is raising money for him to seek treatment. Nathalie Fauteux

The family of a well-loved Loyola High School teacher is desperate for help after finding out he has a Stage 4 brain tumour.

Sean Ryan, or Mr. Ryan to his students, was diagnosed with a highly aggressive Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme last Thursday.

“He is fighting for his life and needs our help and support,” said Nathalie Fauteux, his wife, explaining the size and location of the tumour makes it extremely dangerous.

“We are working with the best neurologists in Canada and looking at options for viable treatments wherever they may be found.”

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The young father had suffered from symptoms since July but thought it was related to a concussion suffered playing baseball.

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It wasn’t until he had a seizure and underwent scans that the cancer was found.

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“Sean has given the best parts of himself to other people his whole life … He’s shaped the minds and spirit of a generation of students at Loyola High School and is an amazing teacher,” Fauteux said.

“Most important is Sean’s ability to make everyone smile and feel better after spending time with him — even now his doctors and nurses at the Neuro love him.”

A photo of Loyola teacher Sean Ryan on a GoFundMe page.
A photo of Loyola teacher Sean Ryan on a GoFundMe page. Nathalie Fauteux

A GoFundMe campaign has started to raise money for his treatment — potentially outside Canada.

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“Sean means so much to me and we are fighting with everything we have,” she said.

More than 1,300 people have raised over $131,000 – surpassing the $100,000 goal.

The news came as a shock to those who knew him, particularly because he had no prior medical problems.

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“Kids and staff were really sombre, really struggled with what they heard, wanted to find a way to express their support,” Paul Donovan, Loyola president, told Global News.

“Sean has a tremendous impact on the kids he worked with. What you’re seeing is his effect. He is a happy, dedicated young man. [The] kids and families he works with are responding to that.”

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Though Ryan is not currently teaching, Donovan says his presence is still felt in and around the school.

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“We don’t have a lot of experience giving to each other.”

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Ryan will meet with neurologists in the coming weeks to discuss treatment options in Montreal.

“We are [also] looking beyond Montreal and Canada to get second and third medical opinions,” Fauteux said.

“We want to be able to get treatment wherever there is hope for a better future for Sean.”

— With files from Global’s Olivia O’Malley.

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