When it came to finding our first family to launch this brand new initiative we didn’t have to look too far and realized we had the perfect family within our close friends. Here’s their story.
Written by Erin, Ryder's mom.
Ryder was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Sarcoma in April 2009. He was 8 months old. What we thought was asthma was actually a 6cm tumour that had ruptured his lung and caused his breathing difficulties. We had no idea that was what was going on for him. The only fuss he made looking back was that he didn't like tummy time. It was the same after chemo ended and the cancer spread to his brain. No fuss from him, except he started hitting his head with his hand from time to time. I later found out that that's common when toddlers have brain tumours. But he continued to grow and play and develop his language and motor skills. His Oncologist, Dr. Rassekh, said he was amazed that Ryder was even conscious given the size and amount of brain tumours he had.
He had 8 months of treatment....we got out on Christmas Eve 2009, so had Christmas at home that year. We were back in on Boxing Day with side effects and stayed until after New Years 2010.
We had a few months with him at home and doing family things like taking Santosha to preschool and going to the park and to East Van coffee shops.
Ryder had a CT scan in April 2010...a year after he started treatment and that's when we received the news that the cancer had spread and our options were limited. We didn't want his last days to be in ICU with him on pain medication and IV drips and brain surgery. We wanted to hold him and sit with him and be away from the hospital. So we went to Canuck Place. We had playtime and took turns sleeping with him on the nurses floor. He played Hockey and ate and slept a lot. I went for walks around the neighbourhood with him in the Ergo. It was so seemingly normal!
We were all surrounded by loving friends and Rod and the nurses when he died on May 2nd.
We would like to thank Foundation 33 and their supporters for their amazing generosity and the heartfelt gesture.