Deputies, family attend memorial for Deputy Mark Ryan - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Deputies, family attend memorial for Deputy Mark Ryan

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The Richland County Sheriff's Department says goodbye to one of their own. Deputy Mark Ryan lost his battle with lung cancer Sunday, and his funeral was held Thursday in Columbia.

"You go through life, you don't smoke or drink. Then one day you go to the doctor and he says that's what you got," said Ryan in a previous interview. 

To most of us, our introduction to Ryan came with bad news -- a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer.

"When you're given the challenge of time and less time, sickness and health, you re-evaluate everything a little bit more," said Ryan. "It makes you think a lot more."

That was May 2011, during the next 3 years his fellow deputies rallied with fundraisers and help around the house. Others tackled Ryan's house itself.

Ryan did get to return to work. In April of this year, we caught him giving a fellow cancer patient a closer look at the Department.

"He'd have his treatments, he'd be in so much pain but he'd come to work," said Sheriff Leon Lott. "He didn't have to come to work, but he did because that's what he loved."

What he loved most, were his three daughters he was raising alone. When things got tough, he had help from his coworkers that he says made the difference.

"I've never experienced this many guys, in a company that have done so much," said Ryan. "Gone above and beyond. It's hard to comprehend it really is."

Thursday, the department stood alongside Ryan's three daughters, who'd help teach deputies one last lesson.

"He prepared them for what was going to happen and how he wanted them to be strong and keep going. Even in death he's still leading us," said Lott.

Ryan was 55.

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