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Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Student Survives Cancer, Creates Inspirational Clothing Line


Southeast sophomore and St. Louis, Mo., native, Ryan Hollingsworth, says he is grateful to have the opportunity to receive a higher education, after winning a battle with cancer in 2007.  A business management major, Ryan already has begun to use the knowledge he acquired from his major to begin his own clothing line, “Living Sacrifice.”

“I always wanted to have a clothing company,” Ryan said.  “During high school this was the one thing that I wanted to do, I just never got started. I was looking at art schools such as Columbia in Chicago, and The Art Institute of Minneapolis and Chicago. These plans changed when I was diagnosed with cancer on Sept. 15, 2007.  I no longer had a real desire to go to art school and have a clothing company because of the cancer. I truly began seeking answers to know if I was going to die of cancer, and I began to seek Christ. Today, I am still living by the grace of God.  The clothing line that I never thought would be, started here at Southeast Missouri State University.  Michael Simmons at the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour encouraged me to get started along with Nikki Schmidt. The clothing line is called ‘Living Sacrifice,’ and this comes from Romans 12:1 which says, ‘I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service.’ I am so passionate about this because I realize that I was created for a purpose and to be a living sacrifice. This has two meanings:  (1) As a believer, this is living for the God who sent his son to die for me, take my sins, and heal me of cancer, and it is my reasonable service. (2) For the non-believer, this can be turning away from alcohol, drugs, abuse, and beginning new way of life away from everyday struggles.  I want people to see something positive because who you are as an individual is what others see. People acknowledge the way we live and are either satisfied or dissatisfied.”

While at Southeast, Ryan says he has really enjoyed going to church and being involved with Campus Outreach.

These, he says, have allowed him to learn about God and have provided him social opportunities.

Ryan says Southeast has contributed to his success, both inside and outside the classroom, in many different ways.

“I have been given various opportunities to become a leader, from Emerging Leaders , Up Till Dawn, the Resident Assistant program, and even as a group leader in MG252,”  Ryan said.  “The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour helped me start something I am so passionate about and that is the clothing company idea that I have had for years, and it has become a success.”

When Ryan isn’t busy running his own business or participating in school activities, he says he is passionate about art and drawing.  He also enjoys traveling.

“I have been to Canada, and I have seen Niagara Falls,” Ryan said.  “I know that no man is capable of building anything so beautiful. I know that there is a creator. One day I would like to go visit other places out of the continental United States, like Hawaii, China, Japan and Paris.  I can only imagine the things I only see on television, but I would like to go someday with my family.”

Ryan offers this advice for future Southeast Students:  “It is a privilege to go to college.  Take advantage of every opportunity presented. You never know how far you will go unless you keep walking.  If you can’t walk, crawl, and if you can’t do either of these, push yourself until you are satisfied with the outcome.”