Suburban high school student, standout football player, dies after short illness – NBC Chicago


Stories about their son give strength to Jennifer and Daniel Plowman.

The Crestwood couple knew they had raised a good person, but they soon find out just how much goodness their son Ryan was spreading.

“He’s helped so many people in so many different ways – that I had no idea,” Jennifer Plowman said. “The stories that these kids are telling me, some of the things that are coming out now are mind blowing.”

Ryan Plowman was a senior at Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights.

An outstanding soccer player, he recently helped the school team win the 3A regional title.

Then, at the end of October, Ryan fell seriously ill and was hospitalized.

He was diagnosed with mononucleosis, also called mono, a contagious disease common among teenagers and young adults, especially college students.

“Every day he was in the hospital – his condition got progressively worse,” Daniel Plowman said.

Ryan also suffered from Crohn’s disease, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes tissues in your digestive tract to swell.

Ryan would die Saturday, Nov. 5, at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

“You shouldn’t die of mono, but he had [the] perfect storm with Crohn’s disease…and he was on drugs that brought him back to life, but also suppressed his immune system – where he couldn’t beat mono,” Daniel said.

In 17 years, Ryan has been able to touch countless lives. He also makes his parents so proud.

“I feel like I have my wings,” Jennifer said. “He’s with me and says to me mum, ‘you have to tell these people that it’s going to be okay’.”

Ryan wanted to attend Butler University in Indianapolis after high school and aspired to be a doctor or pharmacist. His vigil will be held Thursday at the Crestwood Recreation Center from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.


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