The Maneater

Rally for Rhyan breaks own fundraising record in third year

The fundraiser for pediatric cancer research raised $72,000 at the basketball game versus Mississippi State on Feb. 10.

Rhyan Loos at last year’s Rally for Rhyan game on Feb. 4, 2017. Maneater file photo

While Missouri’s win against Mississippi State on Feb. 10 may have gone a long way toward improving its NCAA Tournament chances, the impact the game made off the court is even more impressive.

The contest was the team’s third annual Rally for Rhyan game, a fundraiser for pediatric cancer research. The event is named for Rhyan Loos, the 7-year-old daughter of former Missouri assistant basketball coach Brad Loos, who had cancer. The event broke its own fundraising record, bringing in over $72,000.

Loos said he was blown away by the support from the Missouri community for the event.

“I thought this was the year we'd finally take a dip,” Loos said after the game. “Every year, this fanbase comes back stronger and stronger. They keep buying into the cause. It's overwhelming and incredibly humbling."

This year’s event featured a fundraising effort through MU’s Greek system that raised $12,394 in just a week of fundraising.

Over the past three years the event has raised over $164,000.

Meanwhile, Rhyan has become cancer free.

Loos said the game was in part a celebration for Rhyan, but said there is still a lot of work to be done for pediatric cancer.

“This was more of a celebration than anything else,” Loos said. “That’s kinda how we treated it; this is celebrating Rhyan but still realizing that there is work to do for others. This had more of a joyous feel than years before but there’s still a ton of work to do.”

Another step in the future will be raising money for children like Lizzy Wompler. Wompler, a 10-year-old with osteosarcoma, watched the game from Memphis, Tennessee, and was mentioned by Loos after the game.

“I’ve gotten to know [Wompler’s] family fairly well over the last few months,” Loos said. “Getting to know them was a huge blessing but it was also hard. She’s battling her butt off, and she’s doing a great job, but they’re going through some tough times right now. I’m definitely concerned for her, and we’re pulling for her as best we can.”

Loos switched from working as an assistant coach to a role with Mizzou Athletics, but there was never any thought of cancelling the Rally for Rhyan game after the change. Loos has been happy with the athletic department for keeping the game alive and said it reflects the goodness of the athletic department and the state of Missouri.

“It just says a lot about our administration and our leadership,” Loos said. “Jim Sterk and Brian White, the whole crew there, they never even blinked. There was never even a question whether we were going to do it or not. It’s a great thing for pediatric cancer research, but it shows how big this department’s heart is and how big this state’s heart is.”

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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