Like many 6-year-old boys, Ryder is looking forward to spending the summer camping and exploring the outdoors at his family’s home in Fort St. John, BC. He loves hockey, especially the Pittsburg Penguins, and next year he plans to start playing himself, following in the skates of his hero Sydney Crosby. As an energetic kid, he keeps his mom Ashley busy, and prides himself on being his mom’s “little trickster”.
One week before his third birthday, Ryder was diagnosed with a stage 3 Wilms Tumour, a cancerous tumour of the kidney most frequently found in children. His mom, Ashley, says it is the, “Worst thing I’ve ever been through. It’s heartbreaking to see your child suffering; knowing the only way he will get better is to be put through more pain.” Despite 5 months away from all his family except for his mom – an eternity when you’re only three – Ryder handled his time in Vancouver for treatment like a champ and adapted quickly without complaint. To make things even more complicated, Ryder’s mom was expecting a new little one when Ryder was diagnosed, little brother Logan!
Recovering was no easy task as Ryder had to learn to walk again. With little energy to engage with those around him, treatment affected his comprehension skills and ability to speak. In addition to the immediate impact of Ryder’s diagnosis, he and his family are still managing some of the side-effects of the treatment today.
During the course of this journey, Ryder’s step-grandmother referred him to The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada to give them something special to think about. “It was a nice surprise and gave us something to look forward to,” says Ashley. Now, Ryder can’t wait for his wish trip to Disney World with his family as a way to celebrate three years in remission!