TOPEKA (KSNT) – A Kansas St. Jude patient is sharing his story of how dressing for success, helped him get back home.
Meet Ryder, a now 9-year-old boy who has already gone through so much in life, including fighting a rare tumor at six. Ryder’s parents started noticing small, but unusual changes. He would fall asleep right after school and sleep all night. His teachers noticed he was having trouble seeing in class. For privacy reasons, the family only wanted to share their first names.
“I thought that most people just didn’t see on their sides,” Ryder said. “I was thinking the vision was very bad. You weren’t supposed to see all the letters.”
It was when they went trick-or-treating his parents became concerned he couldn’t see the doorbells in front of him. Ryder eventually went to see an optometrist, which led to a domino effect of other doctor visits.
“We got right in the eye doctor and it was, that one day, from the eye doctor to his pediatrician to the hospital,” Chris said, Ryder’s dad.
“It was kind of a whirlwind at that point,” Laura said, Ryder’s mom.
Ryder was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma. It was sitting on his pituitary gland which was also pushing on his optic nerve. From there, the family headed to Memphis for treatment at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Six years old, fighting a tough battle. The way he got through it, dressing to the nines.
“He used the suit as a tool to motivate himself, and to feel better, and it helped,” Chris said. “It was a great, great way to cope with.”
Ryder would wear suits for visits, appointments and treatments, all to make him feel better. His suits even caught the attention of Dr. James Downing, the CEO of St. Jude.
“It would make me feel bad when I was wearing non-dressy clothes,” Ryder said. “It’s kind of look good, feel good.”
Ryder now only goes back to St. Jude every six months. These days, he’s opting for casual clothes at his visits. But to him and his family, the most important thing, he’s here with them, making it to nine years old, thanks to help from St. Jude and the people who donate.
“It helps kids like me get better at doing normal, feeling normal and it helps us get better,” Ryder said. “It means a lot to me.”
Ryder also had a friend with him while he was at the hospital, a furry one named Boo. Boo was a stuffed dog he carried around with him. Ryder’s since got older, and now hangs out with his real-life dog, Quigley.
Click here to buy your ticket for this years St. Jude Dream Home.