CRESTWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- Ryan Plowman, 17, of Crestwood died Saturday from mononucleosis, generally considered a common illness that took a turn for the worst.
"You shouldn't die from mono, but he just had a perfect storm," said his father Daniel Plowman.
Ryan's immune system was compromised from having Crohn's Disease, and his body just couldn't fight off the mono.
"It's hard to watch your kid suffer. Nobody should have to ever go through something like this," Daniel Plowman said.
"I have images burned into my brain that I don't know how I'm going to escape," said mother Jennifer Plowman.
What began as a stuffy nose and sore throat turned into Ryan spending a week at Comer Children's Hospital, doing his best to fight before he passed. His positive attitude, magnetic personality and pure joy are what anyone who knew him will dearly miss.
"Just how sweet he is," said his girlfriend Kadence Jones. "I've never met a kinder soul, and someone like him didn't deserve to go through what he went through."
A standout soccer player, Ryan led the Shepard High School soccer team to the regional championship this year.
"I always said if I could have a full team of Ryan Plowmans, there's no team that could ever beat us," said coach Zeno Toscas.
The only things getting his family through this tragedy is the tremendous community support and belief they'll see him once again.
"Now he's my angel," Jennifer said. "Now I have to live by him, and for him."
"Hug your kids, love your kids," Daniel said. "I didn't tell him enough that I loved him but over the last couple days, his friends showed me text messages that he knew he was loved, I didn't have to tell him."