Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Ryan Folsom of BYU runs into heavy pressure from UNLV during the second half of play in Provo Saturday November 6, 2010.

I’m sitting in my daughter’s living room where she just moved to Issaquah, Washington, from Oregon. There are moving boxes stacked high, and it’s a maze. She is expecting her third child in March and has two 3-year-old twins. Her husband is in the medical profession.

When my daughter and her husband picked my wife and me up at the Seattle Airport Monday night, she showed me the story of former BYU football player Ryan Folsom’s tragic death.

Folsom’s death hit me quick and hard.

From reports, a driver who police believe "may have been suicidal," drove the opposite direction of traffic, colliding with Folsom’s car, killing him instantly in California. He was on his way to interview for a residency job.

I was stunned, just bowled over in disbelief. This is a tragedy of unimaginable pain and sorrow. Ryan was like a spark plug, a smiling, energetic, hard-working inspiration to all who knew him. I knew him as a walk-on running back who invested in slivers of playing time, yet made the most of every second. He influenced his teammates by his example.

This one hits hard. It is a mind-stopper. It is tough to think about. I cannot imagine what has happened to Folsom, a former BYU running back, medical school graduate, father, husband and friend. His entire future and that of his wife and kids was taken from him.

I have followed my daughter Courtney and husband Matt from Orem to Pittsburgh, back to Orem, on to Hermiston, Oregon, and today Seattle, helping them as student loan debt and expenses have piled up being in the medical field. It’s a vulnerable time in life for these young people.

I cannot begin to imagine what Ryan’s wife is going through right now. That Ryan is gone is unfathomable. This tragedy is tender, and many of the pieces are left unexplained and unfinished. I can understand her sacrifice, as a mother and wife supporting Ryan with his education. It is big. It just became a heavier lift. She should not do it alone.

Now, her life is turned upside down.

An effort to help Folsom’s wife and children has been established in a GoFundMe account. I would encourage Cougar Nation to rally for this man’s family. I’d invite corporations, businesses and others to join in and make this effort count. More than $100,000 has been raised in the first 30 hours since this effort began.

Any amount would help establish some kind of financial foundation for relocation, funeral, education, housing, newborn infant care, daycare, transportation costs and other expenses to ease the burden.