Essexville schools closed on Thursday for Ryan Smigiel's funeral - WNEM TV 5

Essexville schools closed on Thursday for Ryan Smigiel's funeral

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A local man diagnosed with brain cancer has passed away after he was granted his last wish.

Ryan Smigiel, 24, passed away on March 15 after a more than three-year battle with brain cancer, according to a Facebook page dedicated to his journey.

“Our hearts are shattered but at the same time joyful that Ryan was called home to meet his Heavenly Father at 4:00 on March 15, 2018. He was surrounded by his immediate family,” family posted on the page.

Smigiel’s last dying wish was to cook alongside a gourmet chef. It was a request his family wasn’t surprised to hear.

“One of his favorite things to do is to give back to people,” said Edward Switek, Ryan’s brother-in-law. “He’s very generous and he does that through cooking it’s one of his favorite things to do I mean this guy makes some of the best scallops you will ever eat.”

Even though Smigiel’s cancer had progressed, he still whipped up meals from his wheelchair, something Heartland Hospice said helped him cope.

So, when Heartland heard that’s all Smigiel wanted, they reached out to Saginaw Executive Chef Brad Valley to make it happen.

Chef Smigiel chose and customized his very own menu for dozens of his friends and family to enjoy.

“He wanted like sweet roasted carrots so we’re doing up some brown sugar and garlic roasted carrots,” said Valley.

Along with shrimp skewers, jerk chicken, and rice.

While the meal was five stars, Switek said coming together to celebrate Ryan’s life and spirit was the best part.

“He’s been the one to make light of everything and to keep us laughing and keep us going,” Switek said. “He’s the rock and he’s the glue. It’s spectacular that everybody is banding together to give back to him.”

His funeral is scheduled for Thursday, March 22 at 11 a.m. at St. Jude Thaddeus Parish, 614 Pine St. in Essexville on Thursday.

Essexville-Hampton Public Schools canceled class on Thursday due to Smigiel's funeral. The daycare at Bush and the Boys and Girls Club will still be open.

The school has opened the Garber High School parking lot for those not going to the cemetery. There will be shuttles to take people from the bus lane near Cramer to the church before and after the service. The first shuttle will depart Cramer at 9:25 a.m. and the last at 10:45 a.m.

There will also be a livestream of the funeral service in the Garber Auditorium.

A GoFundMe page was also created to help the family pay for medical expenses. So far, it has raised more than $11,000.

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