Ryan’s Story

Ryan’s Story

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

Ryan’s Story

The most daring, courageous and patient person I have ever known was my cousin. Ever since I can remember, my cousin, Ryan, and I seemed to have a special bond. I have two special memories of Ryan when we were very young.

The first one happened on a hot summer day, at Disneyland in California. I can still hear the laughter and voices from people around us. I remember looking up when Ryan pointed toward the sky. My Mickey Mouse balloon and his were tangled up together.

The second memory I have is when Ryan and I were playing with little cars in our grandparents’ family room. He had a green car and I had a brown one. I smashed my car into his and broke it. I didn’t mean to, and I felt bad. Looking back, I now realize how important and special memories are.

Then my Uncle Rick, Ryan’s dad, moved his family to Pocatello, Idaho. I didn’t get to play with Ryan anymore, but we kept in touch by phone.

It had been some years since I had heard from them, until one particular evening. Ryan was seven and I was six at the time. After my Uncle Rick and my mom had talked, my mom hung up the phone. That’s when she told me that Ryan was sick.

Ryan had leukemia. It was in his bloodstream and eventually it went into his bone marrow. Can you imagine? A seven-year-old! I don’t know how he had the courage to live, each day knowing that he was dying of cancer.

After that, we kept in touch a lot over the phone. Finally, when he was eleven, they came to California to visit us for two weeks. Ryan was able to come because he had wished for this, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation was paying for it. This special foundation tries to make terminally ill children’s wishes come true. Ryan wanted to go to all of the nearby theme parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios and Sea World.

One day during this visit, Ryan and I went in-line skating together. We sat down on the curb, and we talked about when we had been little together. He told me his memories of us and I told him of mine. He remembered the balloons at Disneyland. It meant a lot to both of us that we remembered the same things.

Eventually, the two weeks came to an end, and Ryan and his family went back to Idaho. We kept in touch throughout the next year. When Ryan was twelve, he needed a bone marrow transplant, but the odds were against him. The chances of finding a matching donor were one in ten million people, so Ryan had to have an experimental transplant. It had been tried only once before, and the man had died. The doctors took Ryan’s father’s bone marrow and gave it to Ryan. Ryan lived through it.

About a month before he had this transplant, I talked to him on the phone. I felt embarrassed to tell him that I loved him, but I told him anyway, right before I hung up. Finally, Ryan died. He had so much medicine, and so many chemicals in his body, that his lungs couldn’t help him breathe anymore, and they collapsed.

I was sad when he died, yet I felt peaceful about it. I was so glad that I had worked up the courage to tell him that I loved him. Now I’ll never be ashamed to tell someone that I love them before it’s too late.

Although I miss him, I think it’s better that he isn’t suffering anymore. Now Ryan walks with God in heaven.

Kelli Frusher, fourteen

My Life

Sometimes life can be a pain
When your life stays the same
I’ve had cancer not once but twice
And it isn’t very nice.

I hate cancer really a lot
It ties my life up in a knot
Sometimes I think the doctors lie
At times I think I’m going to die.

Before I end up in a coffin
I’ll do my fun things soon and often
I had my transplant—it wasn’t fun
It’s hard to believe that I’m finally done.

Sometimes I wish I could roll over and die
Now I think I’m going to cry
When you’re there you have to roll with the punches
Especially when it comes to their nasty lunches.

When I went to receive what my dad had to give
I was the second to do it, but the first to live
It was hard for us all—it could make you hysterical
But if you think about it . . . I’m a living miracle.

Ryan Alexander

[EDITORS’ NOTE: Ryan was twelve when he died on November 9, 1994.]

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