“We heard the words, ‘you need to take him to the emergency room right away,’” she said.
In this heightened state of panic, they were thrown into a downward spiral of medical treatment, including doctor appointments, tests, diagnostics and endless long nights at the hospital. Ryan’s disorder was critical and in need of rapid care.
Only two years ago, he had seemed like an active and normal 4-year-old capable of interacting with the outside world. It only took one phone call to remove any sort of normalcy from Ryan and his family’s lives.
As treatment escalated, they learned that he needed a bone marrow transplant. This marked the temporary end of Ryan’s ability to maintain his active lifestyle, as his immune system had been severely weakened and couldn’t tolerate exposure to the unknowns of the outdoors.
Months passed and Ryan still couldn’t engage in his favorite activities. He missed school day after school day, get-togethers with friends and other public outings like birthday parties.
What was once so easy – digging in the dirt, climbing in his fort – became impossible. The risk of germs and illness, injury and hemorrhaging, was simply too great.
Ryan’s wish was all about recapturing his love of the outside world. As he neared the end of treatment, he and his family were able to look forward to the days ahead when they would travel to Hawaii and Ryan could finally play freely.
Patrice remembers how the trip became a pivotal moment in Ryan’s transition from hospital-bound to independent. She said, “I have always pictured this trip as a finish line to everything we have been through.”
On a beach in Hawaii, Ryan and his family celebrated reaching that finish line. They enjoyed downtime on the lazy river and building sandcastles. They parasailed and flew in a helicopter. Not too long ago, these activities would have been unthinkable.
But now, they marked the beginning of their return to life as it should be.
Ryan and his sister parasailing