The Wheeling and Healing program assists Indigenous people living with a disability to integrate into all areas of life and promote reconciliation through playing basketball.
It provides tools to help people deal with grief and loss following their or their loved one's disability and unearthing future Indigenous athletes with disability and providing support to them in their chosen sport, while also spreading a message of healing, through partnering with Red Dust Healing.
He is also the captain of the Red Dust Heelers Adelaide National Wheelchair Basketball Team, which debuted in the National Wheelchair Basketball League in 2014.
Ryan was born in Karratha in 1994 before he moved to Perth. At the age of 12 he was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma and his leg from below his knee was amputated.
During his recovery he was told about the benefits of wheelchair basketball and not long after he undertook his first training session.
Since then, he has gone on to achieve great feats such as winning bronze at the Under 23 World Championships with his team, the Australian Spinners, in Turkey, and playing at the University of Alabama in the US. Ryan is proud to have competed at the Australian Paralympic Youth Games in Melbourne in 2009.
Ryan is currently finishing his first year at the University of Alabama on a Wheelchair Basketball Sports Scholarship. He made history as the first Aboriginal person with a disability to undergo such a sports scholarship in the US.
During his first year he was nominated for the Intercollegiate All-Rookie Basketball Team for playing numerous games where he scored more than 30 points.
He is currently a member of the Australian Rollers senior team extended squad and travelled to Japan with it last year.
Ryan's story has inspired hundreds of young people regardless of their race
Ryan's story has inspired hundreds of young people regardless of their race, and with and without disability his Red Dust Heelers Teammates who have taken their program to communities in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales.
More than 50 percent of our Aboriginal population experience disability, making them one of the most disadvantaged groups in our country.
It is a testament to Ryan that he has presented to an economic and development and employment forum at Roelands Village, WA, to encourage employment opportunities for Aboriginal and other Australians with disability.