The identity of the man or woman inside the Wil D. Cat costume is usually a closely-guarded secret. Once their time in the fur is over, however, it often doesn't take long for their identities to be revealed. Ryan Schmokler was one of those former mascots, serving in the suit from 2006 until 2011, including the fateful Final Four run of 2009.
Over the past year, Schmokler was diagnosed with a condition called CRPS -- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome -- a long term medical condition causing severe and debilitating pain. Not much is known about the condition, but he has spent over 150 days in the hospital, undergone six surgeries and lost about 2 years of his life to the disease.
According to Wikipedia, CRPS is "a chronic systemic disease characterized by severe pain, swelling, and changes in the skin. CRPS is expected to worsen over time."
The video above was put together to create awareness of CRPS and to potentially help others with the disease.