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It’s time for football!

This was the scene last fall after the Cedar Springs Red Hawks beat Northview and were champions for the second year in a row in the OK Bronze. They kick off their season tonight (Thursday, August 25) at Zeeland West. Photo by K. Alvesteffer and Rob Lalone.

This was the scene last fall after the Cedar Springs Red Hawks beat Northview and were champions for the second year in a row in the OK Bronze. They kick off their season tonight (Thursday, August 25) at Zeeland West. Photo by K. Alvesteffer and Rob Lalone.

Thursday, August 25, marks the first game of the 2016 season for the Cedar Springs Red Hawks, and you don’t want to miss it! They face off against the Division 4 state champs, Zeeland West, at Zeeland at 4 p.m. It’s the Grand Rapids Press game of the week.

Last year the Red Hawks clinched a share of the OK Bronze Championship, and shared it with Forest Hills Eastern. It was the second year in a row they were champions, as well as made it into the playoffs.

This year, the OK Bronze was dissolved, and the teams moved to other conferences. The Red Hawks are now in the OK White, where they will face teams such as Greenville, Northview, Forest Hills Northern (all from OK Bronze), Forest Hills Central, Lowell, and Grand Rapids Christian. Next week they play long time rival Sparta, at Sparta.

Come on out and cheer on your Cedar Springs Red Hawks!

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Sand Lake Bank robbery suspect arrested after crashing car

A bank robbery occured at the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank on Thursday, August 18. Post photo by L. Allen.

A bank robbery occured at the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank on Thursday, August 18. Post photo by L. Allen.

Bank robbery suspect, Edward Lucas

Bank robbery suspect, Edward Lucas

A bank robbery suspect was pulled from a burning vehicle last week Thursday by Kent County Sheriff Deputies after he crashed his car and the engine compartment burst into flames.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a white male entered the Sand Lake branch of Independent Bank at 5 S. 3rd Street, about 4:06 p.m., Thursday, August 18. He passed the teller a note demanding money, and the teller placed an undisclosed amount of money in an envelope. As he exited the bank with the money, the silent alarm was activated, and 911 was called. He was last seen driving southbound on Northland Drive.

A detailed description of the suspect and his vehicle were given to dispatchers. His description was relayed to all police units in the northern part of Kent County as well as to Montcalm County dispatch.

Twenty minutes later, a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle was spotted on 17 Mile Road in Cedar Springs.  The deputy was able to see the driver, who also matched the description that had been broadcasted. The vehicle then ramped onto southbound US-131 as the deputy followed. Once a second deputy caught up to the first, they made a traffic stop, but the suspect then sped away, continuing south on US-131. Police said the vehicle reached speeds between 80- 90 mph before slowing down and exiting on Post Dr. The suspect vehicle turned onto Post Drive heading toward Belmont.

A very short time later the suspect’s vehicle appeared to cross into oncoming traffic, side swiping a Jeep Liberty before hitting a second vehicle head on. The suspect’s vehicle then left the roadway and rolled two or three times before coming to a rest.

As Deputies approached the suspect’s vehicle, the engine compartment burst into flames. Deputies were able to pull the suspect from the vehicle and use an extinguisher to extinguish the fire.

A Michigan State Police Sergeant who saw the crash, said that it looked like the suspect appeared to deliberately stray across the centerline to crash into the other vehicle.

Two individuals from the vehicle that was hit head on were treated at the scene and released. One person from the Jeep Liberty was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The suspect was transported with much more severe injuries to Butterworth Hospital, where it was determined that he broke his leg, injured his neck, and suffered a severe contusion to his chest.

The local FBI office will be handling the actual robbery and the Kent County Sheriff Department will be handling the pursuit. Also assisting on scene was the Michigan State Police and Plainfield Township Fire and Rescue.

According to paperwork filed in Federal Court this week, the suspect is Edward Ray Lucas, 49, who also was convicted of bank robbery in 1999 in Michigan.

The Sand Lake Police Department posted the following thanks on their Facebook page: “The Sand Lake Police Department and the entire community would like to give a huge shout out to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department for their quick response and apprehension of a possible bank robber that occurred at the Independent Bank in the village of Sand Lake. God Bless each and every one of you.”

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The Post travels to Colombia

N-Post-travels-Colombia-McFarland

The Post traveled with Harold McFarland, of Cedar Springs, on a business trip to Colombia July 31 to August 6. While there, Harold visited the cities of Barranquilla and Medellin. The picture with The Post was taken in Medellin.

Thank you, Harold, for taking us with you!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

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Six tornadoes hit West Michigan 

Tornado damage at Burton and Burlingame SW, Wyoming. Photo credit Lacey Wakefield.

Tornado damage at Burton and Burlingame SW, Wyoming. Photo credit Lacey Wakefield.

The National Weather Service confirmed that six tornadoes occurred in West Michigan on Saturday afternoon, August 20, including two in the Grand Rapids metro area.

Damaging straight-line wind gusts have also been noted near the tornado paths.

Sirens went off here in Cedar Springs, and while we had some intense rain, we didn’t suffer the effects of the tornado. According to the National Weather Service, the following areas in West Michigan experienced tornadoes:

EF-1 tornado damage was found between Bangor and Grand Junction, ending in far southern Allegan County.

An EF-1 tornado touched down just southwest of Bangor Michigan on Saturday, August 20th about 1:13 p.m. and tracked northeast through town. The entire city lost power as well as hundreds of trees. Multiple structures in Bangor were damaged as well. Roof damage was noted on Main Street. New Beginning Ministries and the Bangor Police Department sustained damage. The tornado then tracked further northeast, causing significant damage at True Blue Farms along County Road 215 and the Columbia Township Hall in Grand Junction. The tornado tracked into extreme southern Allegan County before lifting about 2.5 miles northeast of Grand Junction on 103rd Ave west of 52nd Street about 1:31 p.m.

A tornado (EF-1) southeast of Fennville, to east of Hamilton, in Allegan County.

Tornado damage in Bangor. Photo credit South Haven Emergency Services.

Tornado damage in Bangor. Photo credit South Haven Emergency Services.

After the first tornado of the day (EF-1) tracked from Bangor to north of Grand Junction, the second tornado of the day began 6 miles southeast of Fennville about 1:42 p.m. and tracked to 4 miles northeast of Hamilton and was rated EF-1. It ended about 2:10 p.m.

A tornado (EF-1) south of Jamestown in far northern Allegan County and Southeastern Ottawa County.

The day’s third tornado, also rated EF-1, began 2 miles northwest of Burnips in extreme north-central Allegan County about 2:18 p.m. and tracked to 2 miles southeast of Jamestown in extreme southeast Ottawa County. It ended at 2:26 p.m.

EF-0 tornado damage was found in Grandville and Wyoming. EF-0 to EF-1 wind damage was also found south and east of this tornado across parts of Byron Township, Wyoming, Grand Rapids, and East Grand Rapids.

An EF-0 tornado touched down near 44th Street and Ivanrest Ave SW in Grandville Michigan on Saturday August 20th about 2:34 p.m. and continued on the ground along a varying path through Grandville and Wyoming before lifting near the intersection of Nagel Avenue SW and Chicago Drive SW about 2:44 p.m. Though the tornado remained west of US-131, it did zigzag across a number of major roads/intersections in the Grand Rapids metro area including Ivanrest Avenue SW just north of Rivertown Parkway; the intersection of Byron Center Ave SW and 36th Street; 28th Street SW near Sharon Avenue SW; Porter Street SW near Boulevard Drive SW; and Burlingame Avenue SW just north of Burton Street SW. Along the path, hundreds of trees were damaged or knocked over resulting in tens of thousands of power outages. Many homes and a number of vehicles were damaged from fallen trees. A couple notable locations the tornado moved through include the Wyoming Middle School football field where a set of football field goal posts were bent by soccer goals, and Battjes Park and Prairie Park where a number of trees were damaged or uprooted.

In addition to an EF-0 tornado that moved through portions of Grandville and Wyoming on August 20th, National Weather Service damage surveys identified areas of straight line wind damage in Kent County from August 20th storms.

Estimated winds of around 100mph, were equivalent to EF-1 wind damage. A small area of wind damage caused by estimated 100 mph winds was found near M6 between Ivanrest Ave SW and Kenowa Avenue SW. South of M6, Ironwood Golf Course saw the worst of the damage losing a significant number of large trees. North of M6, just west of Wilson Ave SW along 64th Street, a number of very large trees were uprooted causing significant damage to one home.

Estimated winds of 65 to 75 mph equivalent to EF-0 wind damage were  also seen. A long stretch of straight line wind damage occurred from just northeast of the intersection of M6 and Wilson Avenue SW through East Grand Rapids. Notable locations that were impacted by straight line winds include Maple Hill Golf Course and Pinery Park. This damage was mainly to trees with a few fallen trees resulting in damage to homes.

Northeast Grand Rapids EF-0 Tornado. 

A brief tornado touched down in Kent County about 2:50 p.m. near Perkins Avenue NE between Leonard Street NE and Knapp Street NE. Tree damage and some property damage from fallen trees occurred as the result of this brief tornado, which lifted about 2:52 p.m.

A tornado (EF-1) between Orleans and Fenwick in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

Tornado damage began just east of the small town of Orleans about 3:10 p.m. and moved northeast where it crossed M-44, bringing several large trees down, one of which fell on a house. The tornado then crossed West Long Lake Road where the concrete block wall of a garage was blown out and the wind peeled shingles off the roof of a house. A path of tree damage about a hundred yards wide continued to the northeast and narrowed as it crossed the Montcalm County line. The last damage noted was a few downed trees on East Boyer Road about 3.5 miles southeast of Sheridan. It lifted about 3:25 p.m.

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Back-to-school 101 for kids with allergies and asthma

SCH-Back-to-school-101

(BPT) – There are lots of things kids get excited about when they go back to school. From brand new lunch boxes loaded with pudding cups, to shiny 64-packs of crayons and catching up with friends they haven’t seen for awhile, anticipation is in the air.

But if you’re a parent of one of the 28 million children who suffer from allergies, or one of the 7.1 million children who have asthma, sending kids back to school can cause anxious moments.

“Many parents look forward to their child returning to the classroom,” said allergist Janna Tuck, spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “But for parents of children with allergies or asthma, school raises questions about conditions that can’t be controlled or monitored. They want to make sure their child is safe, has adequate resources and that systems are in place if they have an asthma or allergy attack.”

By following these suggestions from the ACAAI, you can help ensure your child has a safe, fun start to the school year.

Know their triggers. Students with pets at home can bring pet dander into school. Other common allergens such as pollen and dust will definitely find their way into the classroom. If your child suddenly develops a runny nose, has difficulty breathing or comes home with a rash, it may be related to classroom triggers. Check with your allergist if previously unseen symptoms occur or if existing symptoms worsen.

Make an appointment with an allergist. If you think your child might have allergies or asthma, making an appointment with a board-certified allergist is the first step to accurately developing a game plan. An allergist can determine what’s causing your child’s symptoms, as well as provide guidance to help both of you cope with allergies and asthma. Through prescribing medication and creating treatment plans, your allergist can provide the care that leads to fewer school absences.

Talk to your child about lunch time. Younger children especially might be excited to share food with friends or try new things on the lunch menu. If your child has a food allergy, it’s important they know why they cannot eat certain things or share food. If your child is prescribed an epinephrine auto injector, make sure the staff is trained in how to use it, and knows where your child’s is located.

Meet with the school. This is one of the biggest steps in preparing for the new school year. Your child’s teachers, coaches, school nurse and principal should all be informed about your child’s asthma and/or allergies, and what medications they carry with them. All 50 states have laws allowing children to carry their needed medication. If your child is old enough, teach them how to use their epinephrine auto injector or rescue inhaler. Make sure they understand warning signs and symptoms, what precautions to take and who to talk to if a reaction develops.

Talk with your child’s friends and other parents. Communication is always a good policy when it comes to managing your child’s allergies and asthma. Talking to your child’s friends, or asking their parents to talk to their children about asthma and allergies, adds another layer of support. This is important for social reasons, as the more your child’s friends and classmates understand allergies and asthma, the less chance your child will feel isolated.

It can be a challenge to keep your kids free from allergy and asthma triggers. To help get you started on developing an action plan and find an allergist in your area check out the ACAAI allergist locator tool. The ACAAI website has lots of resources to ensure your child has a safe and enjoyable school year.

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Amazing Race experience in Sleeping Bear Dunes

Last year’s Michigan Adventure Race took place at Silver Lake. Photo by Jamie Geysbeek Photography.

Last year’s Michigan Adventure Race took place at Silver Lake. Photo by Jamie Geysbeek Photography.

Last year’s Michigan Adventure Race took place at Silver Lake. Photo by Jamie Geysbeek Photography.

Last year’s Michigan Adventure Race took place at Silver Lake. Photo by Jamie Geysbeek Photography.

The Michigan Adventure Race: Sleeping Bear Edition will be held September 17, 2016, in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Glen Arbor, Mich. It offers participants a unique way to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary and a rare opportunity to race in a National Park/Lakeshore. Registration is open through September 14 at www.miadventurerace.com.

Teams of one, two or three will set out from The Leelanau School in Glen Arbor by running/hiking, biking and paddling to on- and off-trail checkpoints pre-marked on a map, collecting as many as they can within either five or ten hours. Racers find that they get just enough of a break to catch their breath, stopping to read the map, punch their scorecard at each checkpoint, and transition between running, biking and paddling.

The 5-hour race includes the opportunity to conquer five Amazing Race-like challenges, revealed just before the race. These require no special training; just a little brain and body power such as running into a woods to find and solve a few word puzzles or tossing and catching refreshing Lake Michigan water between teammates. Five-hour racers can use a mountain or road bike to get from one area to another. Rentals available. A short paddle section will be available as well but race organizers will provide the boats.

Those choosing the challenging 10-hour race must trek, bike and paddle to more difficult and distant checkpoint locations in place of the Amazing Race challenges. Ten-hour racers must have a mountain or cyclocross bike. Rentals available. Rental canoes and kayaks also available or racers can bring their own to save some money.

While adventure racing shares some elements of triathlons, the most striking difference is that adventure racers must figure out their own route from one checkpoint to another using a pre-marked map and cutting through woods often void of trails. A good sense of direction and teamwork are critical skills. Basic compass skills are helpful as well (a free clinic will be available on August 27 in Grand Rapids; an online version is on the race site in the Learn More section).

The charity partner is Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear whose mission is to preserve and interpret the rich heritage of historic structures and cultural landscapes of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Multiple Amazing Race-like challenges during the race will involve these historic structures or cultural practices of those who once lived here.

For more information about the race and to register, go to www.MIAdventureRace.com and visit www.facebook.com/MIAdventureRace to join a growing community of adventure racers.

 

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Whatever your party, choose a designated driver 

CAR-Driver-sober

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign supports driving safety  

Law enforcement officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police are hoping the designated driver gets your vote this election season, as stepped up drunk driving patrols continue through Sept. 5 across the state. The patrols are part of the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

“When it comes to traffic safety there is no debate, the designated driver always wins, yet Michigan alcohol-and/or drug-involved fatalities were up 20 percent in 2015,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “Hundreds of families are suffering tragic consequences because drivers made the wrong choice to drive drunk. The law enforcement officers participating in this campaign are dedicated to changing that.”

Fifteen people died in 12 traffic crashes during the 2015 Labor Day holiday period, a significant increase from six fatalities during the 2014 Labor Day holiday. Nearly two-thirds of the 2015 Labor Day holiday cashes involved alcohol. During last year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement, officers arrested 351 drunk drivers and issued 2,630 seat belt and child restraint citations.

This year’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign will also include stepped up seat belt enforcement. A recent observation study indicates Michigan’s seat belt use rate is increasing this year after remaining fairly constant for the last five years.

In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher, although motorists can be arrested at any BAC level if an officer believes they are impaired. Motorists face enhanced penalties if arrested for a first-time drunk driving offense with a .17 BAC or higher. Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers and passengers 15 and younger in any seating position to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” tall, and children under 4 years old must be in the back seat.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is supported with federal traffic safety funds coordinated by the OHSP. Grant-funded impaired driving and seat belt enforcement is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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Businesses backing away from bee-killing pesticides

BLOOM-Businesses-backing-away

By Mary Kuhlman, Michigan News Connection

New tests found significant decreases in the use of bee-killing pesticides on “bee-friendly” plants. That’s good news for bees.

Friends of the Earth and the Pesticide Research Institute took samples of plants in 13 U.S. cities, including Ann Arbor and Detroit, and compared them to samples taken in 2013 and 2014. They were looking for neonicotinoid insecticides in plants sold to gardeners and home owners.

In the previous tests, half of the plants tested positive for the toxins. This time, only 23 percent did. Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said retailers are starting to sell “bee-friendly” plants.

“Almost 70 retailers across the U.S. have made commitments to stop selling plants—and in some cases, products—that contain bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides,” Finck-Haynes said. “And so that’s what’s really shifting the entire garden industry.”

The Bee Informed Partnership at the University of Maryland said beekeepers across the U.S. lost 44 percent of their honeybee colonies between April 2015 and April 2016. Researchers blame the varroa mite, pesticides and malnutrition caused by changing land use.
Bee losses have to stop, Finck-Haynes said. But some retailers are still selling plants pre-treated with pesticides. She said she hopes consumers will put pressure on those companies.

“Over 50 percent of Americans are more likely to shop at a Lowe’s or a Home Depot because they’ve made that commitment to stop selling these bee-killing pesticides,” Finck-Haynes said. “So, this really demonstrates to Walmart, Ace and True Value that they could potentially lose their customers if they don’t make these formal commitments.”

More than 100 businesses, cities, universities, states and countries have restricted use of pesticides that are lethal to bees. According to a survey by Greenhouse Grower magazine, nearly three-quarters of growers who supply mass merchants and home-improvement chains said they will not use neonicotinoids this year.

A list of retailer’s and grower’s policies on pesticide use is available http://www.foe.org/beeaction/retailers.

Find a list of companies selling pollinator-friendly seeds and plants at this link: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/programs/bee-protective-pollinators-and-pesticides/what-can-you-do/pollinator-friendly-seed-directory.

Get a copy of the new study here: http://webiva-downton.s3.amazonaws.com/877/a1/5/8972/GardenersBewareFollowupReport_4.pdf

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Stay cool pool without chlorine 

HEA-Stay-cool-pool

Saltwater pool is a healthy alternative

(BPT) – As summer temperatures rise, backyard and neighborhood pools become more attractive for old and young alike. The one thing most folks don’t like, however, is the smell of the chlorine or how it burns your eyes or feels on your skin once you get out of the water. The chlorine is there to help keep the water clean and clear, and most pools require a lot of regular maintenance to maintain the proper levels.

Saltwater pools, however, offer a better way to enjoy a dip without the smell or feeling of chlorine. They work by converting salt to chlorine using an electrolytic converter. This produces the same type of bacteria-killing chlorine found in a traditional pool, but in a radically different fashion.

How saltwater pools work

Instead of dumping a bunch of chemical chlorine all at one time and letting it dissipate until more is needed, a saltwater pool adds chlorine to the water at a constant rate. This displaces the bad smell and burning irritation we normally associate with chlorine, while maintaining the right amount at all times.

As the water exits the converter and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine eventually reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced. However new salt does need to be added occasionally as salt levels can drop due to splash-out, rain, and filter back-washing. Pool owners still should test weekly for pH and chlorine, and monthly for other water balance factors.

Lower maintenance, less expensive

The other good news for home owners and pool managers is that saltwater pools require far less maintenance than traditional pools and are much less expensive to maintain as pool salt is far cheaper than traditional chlorine. This is a big reason why so many hotels and water parks in the United States have already made the switch. The initial construction and installation of an electrolytic converter is very small and easily made up in maintenance savings. Even converting an existing chlorine pool to saltwater can pay off quickly.

The technology for a saltwater pool was first developed in Australia in the 1960s, and today, more than 80 percent of all pools Down Under use this system. In the United States, saltwater pools first began to see use in the 1980s and have grown exponentially in popularity. According to data published in Pool & Spa News, today there are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in operation nationwide and an estimated 75 percent of all new in-ground pools are salt water, compared with only 15 percent in 2002.

Some may be concerned about the effect of salt on pool equipment, construction materials, decks and surrounding structures. However, the actual amount of salt used is very low, less than .01 as salty as sea water. You may be able to barely taste the salt in the pool, but much less so than you can taste and feel the chlorine in a standard pool. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, saltwater has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks.

To learn more about saltwater pools and other uses for salt, visit saltinstitute.org.

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Community shows outpouring of support for teen with cancer

 

Fundraiser Aug. 23 to help with treatments

Brison Ricker, 15, was on the Varsity soccer team at Cedar Springs High School last year, before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Brison Ricker, 15, was on the Varsity soccer team at Cedar Springs High School last year, before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

By Judy Reed

The greater Cedar Springs community and beyond has wrapped its arms around the family of a local teen with a rare brain tumor, and the alternative cancer treatment they are working so hard to help raise funds for is showing signs of working—something that conventional cancer treatment did not do. In fact, the latest MRI on 15-year-old Brison Ricker shows that the tumor has shrunk to 1/3 the size it was previously.

It’s definitely a miracle—especially when you find out that Brison’s parents—Brian and Kim Ricker, of Nelson Township, were told less than two months ago by their conventional oncologist to take Brison home and call in hospice because he didn’t have long to live.

Before symptoms began last fall, Brison was a happy, well-liked and athletic teen, who loved riding dirt bikes with his younger brother Preston, and playing soccer. According to Kim, Brison raced motocross and supercross, and came in second place in the state for the two classes he raced in. He also was on the Varsity soccer team as a freshman, and voted offensive player of the year.

His symptoms started around Thanksgiving time with dizziness. “He’s extremely active, so I told him to drink enough water, not to get dehydrated,” explained Kim. The symptoms continued and progressed to blurred vision and seeing double, so she made an appointment with their pediatrician after the first of the year. “They said it was an eye issue and sent us to an eye doctor, who prescribed him glasses. “We got those and they didn’t work,” said Kim. “I had a feeling they wouldn’t. I suspected it was something major.”

Kim asked the pediatrician to schedule an MRI to see what was going on, but he didn’t think it was anything major. “I had to fight with him about it. I finally said I’m taking him to the ER to get an MRI then, and he said o.k.” Brison had the MRI and they got the diagnosis on January 22: the MRI showed a rare and deadly childhood brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (DIPG), which is nearly always fatal and lacks an effective treatment, according to Stanford University.

According to a news article from Stanford’s medicine news, DIPG affects 200-400 school-aged children in the United States each year and has a five-year survival rate of less than 1 percent; half of patients die within nine months of diagnosis. Radiation gives only a temporary reprieve from the tumor’s growth. In addition, it is inoperable. It grows through the brain stem, where breathing and heartbeat are controlled, “with the healthy and diseased cells tangled like two colors of wool knitted together,” said Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Stanford.

Brison Ricker (seated) with Dad (Brian), brother Preston, and Mom (Kim).

Brison Ricker (seated) with Dad (Brian), brother Preston, and Mom (Kim).

The news of Brison’s tumor was devastating for the family. “There’s not words to describe how it felt. We were horrified. Our whole world was crashing down,” shared Kim. She said she also questioned God about it. But Brison’s faith and the support of family and friends helped keep them steady. “He has handled it like a champ. We get strength from him. He has a very strong faith, as do we. And, as soon as we found out, our room was filled with friends from church who came to pray. It helped our focus to be on God’s word and not what the doctors are telling us; to focus on God’s promises and not the diagnosis,” explained Kim.

A Gofundme page was set up for donations, and Team Brison (you can find them on Facebook) began putting together numerous fundraising events to help the family. And people began to pray.

Brison first underwent radiation, and did several alternative treatments at home to help fight the cancer, including eating a strict, healthy, organic diet. Kim said they wanted to go to the Burzynski clinic in Texas in March, when Brison’s radiation was done, because they offered an alternative treatment that had had some success with patients. But she said that the oncologist recommended against it, because he said he had seen people do that and waste their money.

The cost for the first month of treatment down there would be $30,000, and it would be a minimum of $17,000 per month after that. None of it would be covered by insurance. Not to mention the loss of income they would suffer. Faced with that and the fact that the oncologist recommended against it, they didn’t go.

But Brison continued to deteriorate. He lost 25 pounds, and his liver was under stress. The steroids he was on for inflammation broke down his muscle and skin and contributed to fatigue. By the end of April, he needed help to stand, sit, and walk. And his tumor had grown 6mm bigger, and there was swelling in his brain. He continued on steroids and the alternative treatments he was receiving locally.

On June 18, Brison went to the ER because his symptoms were progressing, and had another MRI. The news was devastating—his tumor had doubled in size from just six weeks before and was spreading to other parts of his brain. “The doctors say there are no clinical trials available anywhere for him and there is nothing left that they can do for him, and sent us home to cherish the precious time we have together. They suggested that we call Hospice and said at the rate the tumor is growing they believe his time is very limited,” wrote Kim in a Gofundme update on June 19.
“We went home and called the Burzynski Clinic right away,” said Kim. She researched a few other clinics, but the Burzynksi Clinic was the only one that had any success with treating that type of tumor. And Kim was able to talk with the mother of a 14-year-old that had been treated there, which helped them make their decision. “We prayed about it and felt this is where God was leading us,” she wrote. Additional gene-targeting meds were going to add another $40,000 to the cost, and they didn’t know how they were going to be able to keep the treatments going, but they trusted God and went.

They originally thought they would be there a month, but came back a bit sooner. Some additional new meds the clinic wanted to start him on wouldn’t have been covered there, but the oncologist here agreed to work with them and offered to give them to Brison here, which meant they would be covered by insurance. They still, however, have thousands and thousands of dollars in expenses to be met for other meds.

On Thursday, August 8, they received some amazing news: not only was the tumor one-third the size it was, but it was dying from the inside out. His oncologist here was surprised. “He said he’d never seen any results like this, that basically we were in a gray area of medicine from a regular oncologist’s point of view, because they hadn’t seen this combination of treatments before,” said Kim.

She also spoke with Dr. Burzynski this week, and he wants to continue with the treatment and get an MRI in four weeks. “There is some controversy between the doctors on how treatment will go moving forward but we’ll work it out,” she said. “The main thing is Brison had great results. He is tired and worn, but holding steady. Steady is good. If he was not on this treatment, he would not be with us.”

Kim said that the family has been overwhelmed with the support that they have received, even from people they don’t know. Brison is in awe of it all, especially the little notes or gifts he gets from people. She hopes people will continue to show Brison how much they care about him. “He thinks those gifts and notes are pretty awesome,” she said.

One of the ways their faith in God has helped them through this, is to see how it has affected other people. “A ton of people have said how our faith has strengthened them. It’s amazing to see how through all this we are touching and encouraging people and making their faith stronger,” remarked Kim.

While Brison received good news about his tumor, he is not out of the woods and will need more treatment, which means continuing expenses for the family, and they can only continue the treatments with your help. Another fundraiser has been set for August 23 at Cedar Springs High School at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to benefit Brison. Speakers are Tracey Casey-Arnold, founder/CEO of W.I.T. Wellness Consulting, founder of WIT Ministry and Whatever it Takes Radio Network; and Matt Lehr, former NFL football player, NPC Super Heavy Weight and GASP athlete, and NPC Texas Judge. Arnold will speak about using faith to help win in life; Lehr will speak about overcoming adversities. Tickets are $25 each, with the option to donate more. They ask that you please purchase tickets ahead of time at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brison-ricker-fundraiser-event-with-tracey-arnold-and-matt-lehr-tickets-26959235800. Or go to eventbrite.com and search for Brison Ricker.

For info on this and other fundraisers for Brison, search for the Team Brison page on Facebook.

To donate directly to Brison, visit https://www.gofundme.com/brisonricker or send a check to Brison Ricker, 5370 Dio Dr., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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