In December 2011, Tyler Ryan took his first steps after losing his leg in a horrible car accident on November 9. He had stopped to help a stranger change a tire when an inattentive driver hit him.
His story has inspired thousands, and Thursday night some of those who love him most wanted to say thanks.
Ryan was able to go home on December 23 and his loved ones didn't want that major milestone to go unmarked. Hundreds of people filled a room at Remington Park for a surprise party.
The endless stream of faces and hugs was a clear indication of what kind of person Tyler Ryan is, but hearing why he's in a wheelchair will leave no doubt.
"I rolled down my window and I was ‘you need some help?' he was like ‘yes, please, please" so I pulled over, put my flashers on and went over there to see what I could do," Ryan said, recalling the night of the accident.
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Ryan lost his leg but maintains he would do it all again.
A tattoo he got before the accident reads "keep moving forward" and has served as his inspiration. In turn, Ryan has inspired countless others.
The party Thursday night was a small thank you, perhaps when he needed it most.
"It will come at a great time for him, just to have downer days through the holidays and stuff it will be good for him," Ryan's mom Shirley Coleman said.
And the surprises didn't stop when Ryan came in the door.
Country Music superstar Vince Gill stepped out of the recording studio to call Ryan. And his former bosses handed him a check for more than $20,000 to help with mounting medical bills.
"I can't put into words the way I feel," said Ryan. "How much people have come together and what they've done for me."
"I told him he better never say he doesn't have any friends because this is amazing," Coleman said.
Ryan's medical bills are nearing a million dollars and he didn't have insurance. Thursday's event was also a fundraiser that raised $31,379.
Major donations included $10,000 from Jay's Valet; $5,000 from Global Gaming Solutions a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation and ownership group for Remington Park; $5,000 from Remington Park, and $2,500 from Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma. Other donations were from Global Gaming Solutions/Remington Park employees and patrons as well as from friends and family.
Ryan also found out he and his family will have the opportunity to attend Challenge Aspen this summer. Challenge Aspen is a program that provides recreational and educational services to individuals who have encountered tragic accidents or disabilities. Challenge Aspen and Jay's Valet have donated a weeklong experience for Ryan and his family. A week filled with kayaking, skiing and other activities. Vince Gill and Amy Grant take part in this annual event.
For information on Tyler's recover and help you can help go to his "Keep Moving Forward" Facebook page.