Birthday Week - Ryder

Posted: Jun 12, 2023

Happy birthday Ryder!

In Florida, Ryder celebrated his 6th birthday and is Casey Cares' 275th birthday this year!

Casey Cares knows that for a critically ill child, each birthday is a special milestone celebrating life. For the children in our programs, it not only marks another year, but it also demonstrates a great achievement. Casey Cares staff and volunteers work hard to send out each of our kids a special birthday package through our Birthday Blast program - we send over 1,000 a year. This simple act of kindness delivers joy and hope to our kids who are undergoing treatment.

Dinos and Disney and Doing Good

To this day after joining Casey Cares in 2022, Ryder has loved going to a Jurassic World live show and Disney On Ice.

His mother, Alexandria, states, “Both times we were given seats close up and in an area where the show interacted with us and made us all feel really special.”

Alexandria loves what Casey Cares, “stand[s] for, I love who you stand for. You’ve helped give my family a sense of normalcy through the hardest part of our life, and I am so grateful for that!”

The sense of normalcy came when the family learned that their son had acute lymphoblastic leukemia “after over a month of doctors telling us he just had a virus, or a viral infection, and then just growing pains in his legs when he couldn’t walk.”

“Finally after doing blood work his primary doctor told us we needed to go to the emergency room, and after lots of blood work and wiring there a doctor came in to tell us that we were being admitted because Ryder had cancer. I’ll never forget her words, or her face,” says Alexandria.

A Balancing Struggle

The mother notes the difficulties of being a parent to a critically ill child.

“Financial challenges hit us really hard, I stopped working to care for Ryder when he was diagnosed, cutting our income in half," the mother expresses.

She continues, “There have been several months I didn’t know how bills would be paid; we still struggle almost 2 years into this. The mental toll on the entire family, worry and stress are at an entirely different level for a family who has a critically I’ll child, the heartache, the seemingly double life we live, the shift in our reality-sometimes it’s like the world is still moving but we’re just frozen in this trauma filled state watching everyone and everything move on by. Educational challenges and trying to keep the balance and normalcy for my other son [Carson].”

Seeing the Best in Everything

Today, Ryder continues to make progress, having returned home from a recent procedure.

“We have seen many gains in Ryder after witnessing so many losses on this roller coaster. He’s walking again, his body is getting stronger every day. He’s talking more, he’s showing interest in things, he spends most days up and playing more than laying down lifeless,” Alexandria reflects.

She concludes, “Ryder is such a strong, brave, resilient boy, not qualities a child his age should have to have, but because of them they have no doubt contributed in saving his life. He’s funny, caring, determined, and sees the best in every situation.”

You can help bring lasting memories to critically ill children like Ryder - click here!