Ryan was diagnosed with cancer in 2000. Her prognosis was grim, but she survived, although she said in 2009 it took years for other coaches to stop using her illness against her.
She was praised by university President Teresa A. Sullivan as “an icon in the fight against cancer” and for being instrumental in the planning of the university’s Emily Couric Cancer Treatment Center. The facility was built from the patient’s point of view with Ryan’s input.
Ryan said she plans to remain in Charlottesville in the immediate future “and choose an area of the University that fits my skills,” with the Couric Center of particular interest.