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UK walk-on donates hair, cites coach John Schlarman as inspiration

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He is an inspiration to many.

Schlarman Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Kentucky Wildcats offensive line coach John Schlarman has been an integral part of the program’s recent success.

Not only has the offensive line been one of the most talented and productive groups on the roster, but he has had some big recruiting wins as well. But Schlarman’s most inspirational work, hands down, has been off the field in his battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer.

Schlarman was diagnosed in 2018, and continues to fight with an amazing combination of ferocity and grace. He has been an inspiration to many, and now that inspiration is leading his players to take steps to do the same for others.

Ryan Bryant is a sophomore walk-on offensive lineman from Ashland Blazer High School in Kentucky. He works hard and really appreciates the opportunity he gets to suit up for the Wildcats on Saturdays. But his biggest gratitude is for the inspiration he has received from coach Schlarman.

And on Monday, he used that to try and inspire others.

Bryant donated several inches of his hair to Wigs for Kids, an organization that uses real hair to make wigs for children suffering the unfortunate hair loss effects of cancer treatment.

A family friend of Bryant passed away from breast cancer in 2018, and that is what made him aware of the need and the opportunity to use his hair to help people.

“She always had to get wigs and stuff, and always talked about wanting curly hair and how much she liked my hair,” Bryant told the Herald-Leader. “After she passed away, I figured I should grow it out and give it to somebody who would enjoy it as much as she would have.”

Bryant cited Schlarman as his inspiration, and referred to him as a “warrior” when talking about Schlarman’s battle with cancer. Schlarman’s fight and positive attitude not only encourage those in the offensive line room in Lexington, but he continues to be an inspiration for everyone that knows about him and his incredible story.

Read more of Bryant’s comments about his hair donation and his inspirations here.