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Whitman student and parent interviewed about fundraiser for Ryan Seacrest Show

Rana+Sawaya+Ryan+and+Clara+Ryan+during+their+interview+on+the+Ryan+Seacrest+Show.+On+the+show%2C+they+talked+about+their+art+fundraiser+for+scoliosis+through+Children%27s+National+Hospital.+Photo+courtesy+Clara+Ryan.%0A
Rana Sawaya Ryan and Clara Ryan during their interview on the Ryan Seacrest Show. On the show, they talked about their art fundraiser for scoliosis through Children's National Hospital. Photo courtesy Clara Ryan.

Rana Sawaya Ryan and Clara Ryan during their interview on the Ryan Seacrest Show. On the show, they talked about their art fundraiser for scoliosis through Children's National Hospital. Photo courtesy Clara Ryan.

Rana Sawaya Ryan and Clara Ryan during their interview on the Ryan Seacrest Show. On the show, they talked about their art fundraiser for scoliosis through Children's National Hospital. Photo courtesy Clara Ryan.

By Matt Proestel

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Representatives of reality personality Ryan Seacrest invited junior Clara Ryan and her mother, Rana Sawaya Ryan, onto Seacrest’s show to discuss their art exhibit fundraiser for scoliosis patients, which lasted from April 22 to July 8.

The Ryan family, Whitman students, a student from the Lycee Rochambeau French School and art students from Georgetown University all contributed art to the exhibit, which will close July 9. The Ryan family founded the exhibit in the atrium of the Children’s Hospital to honor Clara’s battle with scoliosis.

After being diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 11, Clara had to wear a back brace to keep her spine from continuing to curve. But at the beginning of her freshman year, Clara’s doctors felt that she should change treatment courses. She underwent spinal fusion surgery, which left her with 22 screws in her spine.

Following their journey of medical setbacks, the idea of appearing on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show on May 20 to talk about her fundraiser excited both her and her mother.

“It was unreal,” Clara Ryan said. “I woke up and my mom was like, ‘you won’t believe the email we just got,’ and it honestly didn’t register until that night.”

Ryan Seacrest has studios at 10 Children’s Hospitals around the U.S., including the Children’s Hospital in DC. The studios broadcast their shows throughout the hospital, giving patients the opportunity to listen and pose questions to the individuals being interviewed. Patients also have easy access to the art exhibit because it is located in the hospital.

Many Whitman students happily contributed art in honor of Clara and others with the scoliosis.

“Clara came to me and I told her I had some pieces that would be good,” junior Grant Glazier said. “I wanted to be involved with cheering up others with art.”

In addition to the revenue from the sold paintings, the Ryans started a website for online donations to help patients with scoliosis.

“The website is a fundraiser for those who were not able to come to the art show and still wanted to help us and wanted to donate money towards the cause,” Rana Sawaya Ryan said.

The fundraiser’s original goal was to raise $5,000, but after quickly surpassing that goal, the Ryan family decided to raise the goal to $10,000.

“It is truly inspiring that once you gather people together, it can make something beautiful,” Clara said.

 

 

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