Angels' Leiter loses son to form of Gehrig's disease American League

April 06, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark and Allison Leiter tried their best to prepare for this day, but no matter how they braced themselves for the inevitable, it could not diminish their pain and anguish.

Today, they will bury their 9-month-old son, Ryan Alexander Leiter, during a private memorial service in Anaheim Hills, Calif.

Ryan, who had Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, a children's form of Lou Gehrig's disease, died Monday night in Anaheim, Calif. Leiter, a former Orioles minor-leaguer, immediately left the California Angels to be with his family.

"We felt Ryan was brought into our life for a reason," Allison Leiter said the other day. "He was an angel on this earth. I'll believe that until the day I die."

Leiter, who joined the Angels on March 19 after being released by the Detroit Tigers, told manager Buck Rodgers that he still wants to make his scheduled start Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers. He plans to rejoin the team before Friday's game in Milwaukee.

"Whatever time he needs, he'll get," Angels general manager Bill Bavasi said.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Ryan Leiter Fund, c/o Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, P.O. Box 1465, Highland Park, Ill. 60035.

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