11-year-old Ryland has always had a fascination with the weather. For as long as he can remember, his favorite things to do are study the forecasts from his heroes on the Weather Channel and even report the weather to his friends.
Ryland suffers from a life-threatening medical condition that can often take him away from his friends, from sports, and other activities an 11-year-old boy is accustomed to doing. But the weather has always been there, on good days and bad days, for Ryland to study, learn and share. For Ryland, growing up and becoming a meteorologist for America would be a dream come true – a dream that helps him through his toughest days.
When Make-A-Wish volunteers asked Ryland what his one true wish would be, he didn’t have to think long before providing his answer confidently – to report the weather on The Weather Channel. And this spring, Ryland’s dreams became a reality.
Dressed in a blue shirt and tie, Ryland and his family arrived at the Weather Channel in Atlanta, Georgia for a morning of the studios. Ryland met with various members of the weather team, received a brief overview of how the newscast would look, and then he was sent in to deliver the weather to America – no scripts and no rehearsal, just Ryland, a monitor, and millions of Americans watching him.
Ryland took complete command of the weather map, delivering a professional forecast and giving a nod to his hometown, too. He was on air for more than three minutes, giving a weekend forecast all across the East Coast.
“Watching Ryland give the forecast on TV was a very emotional and proud moment for my husband and me,” said Ryland’s mom Jennifer. “If the weather is bad, Ryland is grabbing his coat and running outside. He then Facetimes his friends and they discuss the storm.”
After his TV debut, Ryland continued his tour of the studios, where he had the chance to meet his hero, Jim Cantore. He even gave Mr. Cantore a letter and a resume, in hopes of joining him as a full-time staff member in the future. Mr. Cantore suggested that if he were in charge of hiring, he would certainly bring Ryland onto the team.
“Ryland has always amazed our family,” Jennifer continued. “When people watched him report the weather last week, I think they felt his love and passion just as we do every day. Watching Ryland’s wish being granted was truly a magical moment unfolding before our eyes. It was something we never thought possible and has brought so much joy and inspiration into Ryland’s life. Our hearts are filled with gratitude.”