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Tag Archive | "Brison Ricker"

Pediatric brain cancer non-profit expands reach


Brison Ricker

“The Cure Starts Now” adds Cedar Springs Chapter in honor of Brison Ricker

 International non-profit The Cure Starts Now announced last week that its 38th chapter has been established in Cedar Springs in honor of Brison Ricker.

The addition of this new chapter allows The Cure Starts Now to further its mission of finding the Homerun Cure for cancer by funding research of one of the deadliest, most aggressive forms of cancer: DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma)—a cancer that primarily affects children.

The Michigan Chapter of The Cure Starts Now was started by Kimberly Ricker in honor of her son, Brison. Diagnosed with DIPG on January 22, 2016, Brison battled for 23 months before passing away, just twelve days before his 17th birthday. Though he was young, Brison displayed a level of maturity not seen in many his age. He showed kindness, compassion, and respect to everyone—helping the new kid, or sitting with the child that was being bullied.

“DIPG is a horrific disease and no child should have to go through this and no parent should have to watch this happen to their precious child,” said Brison’s mother, Kim. “Brison has made us forever Rickerstrong, and in his honor, we will share his story, we will advocate, and bring as much awareness to DIPG as possible, so we can together work towards a cure!” 

The Cure Starts Now believes, as the experts do, in the Homerun strategy—that in order to cure cancer, you have to focus on those forms that are immune to conventional treatments, those that affect children, and those that are the “biggest bullies.” To do this, The Cure Starts Now funds research previously thought to be too ambitious or impossible.

 By operating with less than 3 percent overhead, The Cure Starts Now is able to ensure that money donated through the fundraising efforts of its chapters goes directly to funding innovative research.

The Cure Starts Now is one of the only cancer foundations dedicated to finding the Homerun Cure for cancer by focusing on one of the rarest, most aggressive forms of cancer. Believing in more than just awareness, The Cure Starts Now has funded over $10 million in cancer research, resulting in 59 cutting edge research grants in 6 countries since 2007.

Learn more about The Cure Starts Now and their mission to find the Homerun Cure for cancer at https://thecurestartsnow.org/. 

 

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Brison Ricker passes away


Brison Ricker (left) playing soccer for the Red Hawk Varsity Soccer team in the fall of 2015, before he began showing symptoms of brain cancer. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

By all accounts, Brison Ricker, 16, was a fighter. But his fight with DIPG, a rare and deadly childhood brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (DIPG), came to an end Saturday morning, December 23, when he passed into the arms of his Lord and Savior.

Brison, the son of Brian and Kim Ricker, of Nelson Township, and brother to Preston, 14, was a happy, athletic, well-liked teen with a strong faith in Jesus Christ. Before his symptoms began in the fall of 2015, he loved riding dirt bikes with 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 that fall and voted offensive player of the year.

Brison Ricker at age 9, with his father, Brian. He played soccer and was training for the Riverbank Run. Courtesy photo.

Brison also loved to run; the Post ran a story on Brison in 2010 when he was nine years old and a third grader at Beach Elementary. He was training to run the Riverbank run—and his dad was going to run with him. 

In 2012, we reported he won first place for boys in the 55m dash at Cedar View, as well as first place in the 100m dash for 11-12-year old boys at the Hershey Track and Field meet that summer.

Brison’s symptoms started around Thanksgiving 2015—dizziness and blurred vision. By January he had a diagnosis of 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.

By June of 2016, their oncologist advised them to bring in hospice because there was nothing more they could do. It was then that Kim and Brian sought alternative treatment for Brison through the Burzynski Clinic. However, it was not covered by insurance. And the community then began to put on numerous fundraisers to try to help the Rickers fund the expenses related to Brison’s treatment—fundraisers which continued through this Christmas season.

Brison and his younger brother, Preston.

By December 2016, the Rickers found that Preston also had cancer—not DIPG but thyroid cancer, for which he underwent conventional treatment.

Brison had a lot of ups and downs medically, but the treatment did shrink the tumor and the area where it was located (the pons) eventually became scar tissue. Unfortunately, the cancer eventually spread to his spleen and other parts of his brain.

Toward the end, he could not hear or see, and had become unresponsive. The Rickers called in hospice last week, and a prayer vigil was held at their home on Friday evening, December 22. Brison then passed away on Saturday morning.

“He fought so hard until the end, he had big dreams with the determination, perseverence, and talent to make those dreams come true and he did not want to leave this earth,” Kim wrote on her Facebook page. “Brison had unwavering faith until the end and believed he would be healed. Now he is playing soccer and racing dirt bikes in heaven.”

She also thanked those who have supported them. “Thank You to everyone who has provided love and support to our family over the past 23 months since Brison was diagnosed. Our mission to save him did not end with success, but because of so many of you who selflessly gave we were able to provide treatment that extended his life and time with us for an extra 18 months. We made so many memories during that time. He celebrated is 16th birthday, he went to high school dances, we went on vacations, and became closer than ever before. That is time our family will always be grateful for.”

Brison’s funeral will be held on Saturday December 30 at Resurrection Life Church in Rockford at noon, with visitation from 10 to noon. See his obituary here.

Brison is the third Cedar Springs student to pass away this year. Earlier this fall, Emma Orr, a student at Beach Elementary passed away from terminal neuroblastoma; and Cora Gonzalez, a 5th grader at Cedar View, passed away after being hit by a car.

 

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BRISON CHRISTOPHER RICKER


Brison Christopher Ricker of Cedar Springs, Michigan, age 16, passed away on the morning of Saturday, December 23, 2017, after a brave & courageous battle with DIPG brain cancer. He was surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home, and rests now, comfortably in the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Born on January 4, 2001, Brison grew up in Cedar Springs and attended Cedar Springs High School. He was outgoing and driven by his faith in everything he did—always striving for greatness. Brison raced motocross, and played soccer and basketball. He loved watching sports too. Brison had a great sense of humor and a kind heart to match. He was an incredible and loving son, wonderful brother and best friend, grandson and teammate, and was loved by so many. Brison leaves behind his parents Brian and Kimberly (Morris) Ricker; brother Preston Ricker; grandparents Kathryn (Gary Burger) Ricker, Joe (Gail) Ricker; Mark Sheldon; uncle Mark Ricker; and many special friends. He was preceded in death by his grandmother Deb Sheldon. The funeral service for Brison will be celebrated by Pastors Julian Newman and Dawn Damon at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 30, 2017, at Resurrection Life Church, 3233 10 Mile Road NE, Rockford, MI 49341. Relatives and friends may call on the family during a time of visitation from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at the church. Those wishing to offer an expression of sympathy are encouraged to make a memorial contribution to Brison’s family to assist them with funeral expenses. Brison will be laid to rest in Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs, Michigan.

Arrangements by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford

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Pumpkin giveaway event raises $8,000 for Ricker family


 

Post photo by J. Reed

By Judy Reed

Over 1,000 kids and parents enjoyed a fun, family-friendly event in Morley Park last Saturday, while raising money for Brison Ricker, a teen cancer patient in Cedar Springs.

The event, called the Green Family and Friends Pumpkin Giveaway, was put on by the Green Family, who put on events each year for kids in lower income areas. This event, however, had a different focus: raising money for the Ricker family. Everything at the event was free, including hotdogs; chips; drinks; cotton candy; popcorn; 2000 cupcakes; carnival games with lots of candy prizes; a magician to entertain the kids; and a costume contest. Kids were also allowed to pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, with 600 pumpkins available. A box was set up for people to give donations, and money was also made from a silent auction. In the end, over $8,000 was raised for the Ricker family.

Post photo by J. Reed

On the Green Family and Friends website, Cordell Green explained why he holds these events. “Some people save up all year to spend thousands of dollars on a vacation, and with that vacation they make memories for two people. I save up all year to spend thousands of dollars on these events, and with these events we make memories for hundreds of people,” he said.

“We are so grateful to the Green Family and Friends for the amazing event they put on,” noted Kim Ricker, Brison’s mom, on her Facebook page.

Brison suffers from DIPG, a terminal brain cancer. The Rickers sought alternative treatment after conventional treatment was exhausted, and while the tumor he initially had is now scar tissue, he has some progression in his spine. The Rickers spend thousands of dollars each month on treatment, and could use your help. If you’d like to donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong. There are also numerous fundraising events each month, including a monthly can drive. To keep up on ways you can help, visit the Team Rickerstrong page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/teambrison/.

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Fundraiser at Morley Park for Brison Ricker


 

If you’d like to do something fun this weekend to with the family and help out someone in need at the same time, stop by the 2017 Green Family & Friends Pumpkin Giveaway at Morley Park, 70 Cedar Street in Cedar Springs, this Saturday, October 21, from 2-6 p.m.

The Green family has graciously volunteered to put on a Friend and Family Fundraiser with all proceeds being donated to help with local teen Brison Ricker’s medical needs. Brison was diagnosed with DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor, in January 2016. Everything at Saturday’s event is free, with donations being accepted.
The event includes food, games, and other entertainment. Food includes hotdogs, chips, homemade cupcakes, candy, popcorn, cotton candy, and drinks. Families can play games such as balloon pop, duck pond, acorn toss, roll up, pumpkin drop, ring toss, football toss and more.
Entertainment includes a pumpkin giveaway (600 available); Stormy the Magician; a costume contest (6 minimum—$100  prizes being awarded based on gender and age); face painting; and silent auction. The Kent County Sheriff Department and Cedar Springs Fire Department (with fire truck) will also be on hand. Be sure to bring pop cans for their pop can drive.

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Fundraiser for Ricker brothers


 

Ricker brothers: Brison (left) and Preston (right)

Ricker brothers: Brison (left) and Preston (right)

May 7

There will be a fundraiser for Brison and Preston Ricker on Sunday, May 7, at Patterson Ice Arena, 2550 Patterson Ave SE, in Grand Rapids.

The fundraiser will run from 5-7 p.m. Cost is $5 per person with free skate rental.

There will be food provided for purchase by Classic Kelly’s restaurant, as well as silent auction items and bake sale items, with all proceeds going to the Ricker family.

On January 23, 2016, Brison was diagnosed with an incurable and inoperable brain tumor known as DIPG, which also comes with a zero percent survival rate. However, with alternative treatment from the Burzynski Clinic (which is currently running $20,000 per month) Brison is beating the odds! His strength, determination and strong faith in God to not let cancer win is truly inspiring to everyone.

On December 23, 2016, just 11 months following Brison’s diagnosis, Preston was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer that also had spread to his lymph nodes. Preston had surgery on January 9 to remove the thyroid and affected lymph nodes, followed by radiation treatment. Like his big brother, he also has the strength, determination and faith in God to beat this.

You can follow their story on Facebook by liking the page Team Rickerstrong, and you can donate at gofundme.com/rickerstrong.

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Fundraisers for Rickers and Emma Orr


 

See scheduled fundraisers below for children in our community suffering with cancer: teen brothers Brison and Preston Ricker, and second grader Emma Orr. Brison was diagnosed a year ago with an inoperable brain tumor called DIPG, and his brother Preston was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December. Emma was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the fall of 2015, and relapsed six months later.

Rickerstrong can drive

March 13: Rickerstrong can drive will be held Monday, March 13, at 5:30 p.m. at Meijer in Cedar Springs. It was rescheduled from Monday, March 6, due to the power outage.

25 cent event for Emma Orr

March 24: Come join the Beach elementary PTO in a fun night of shopping to help one of our students battling cancer for the second time. Booths will be set up with local direct sales consultants. Two raffle prizes will be available from each booth, each valued at a minimum of $25. Purchase 25-cent raffle tickets throughout the event and drop your tickets into the cup next to the raffle prize you wish to win. To make it even better, for every $10 spent at the booths, you will earn Golden Tickets. Golden Tickets get placed into a separate raffle drawing. One lucky winner will be announced at the end of the event. That lucky winner will receive a raffle prize valued at a minimum of $25 from EACH of the booths present. WOW! There will also be a custom Fight for Emma “No one fights alone” bracelet at the Plunder Design booth. Be sure to check that out.

Benefit BBQ dinner for Ricker family

March 25: Come out to the Peppermill Grill, 8 South Squires St., in Rockford, from 3-7 p.m. to support the Ricker brothers as they fight two separate cancers. $10 a plate will get you either a pulled pork BBQ or two hot dogs with homemade macaroni and cheese, baked beans and a beverage. All of the proceeds will go to the Ricker family! Carry out is also welcomed. T-shirts and wrist bands will be available for purchase. There will also be raffle tickets for basket drawings.

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Community raises funds for Ricker family


The Ricker family, L to R: Preston, Brian, Brison, and Kim Ricker.

The Ricker family, L to R: Preston, Brian, Brison, and Kim Ricker.

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was the place to be Monday evening, as the community came out to show its support for brothers Brison and Preston Ricker, who are both battling cancer, and their parents, Brian and Kim.

CS Brewing donated 10 percent of sales proceeds and had a donation box set up for extra donations for the family. With sales and donations combined, they raised $3,300 for the Ricker family’s medical fund.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was packed Monday evening as people flooded in to support the Ricker family in a fundraiser. Photo from CS Brewing Facebook page.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was packed Monday evening as people flooded in to support the Ricker family in a fundraiser. Photo from CS Brewing Facebook page.

“The place was packed and everyone was very patient as our crew worked their tails off to serve as many people as possible,” said owner David Ringler, in a Facebook post. “Thank you to our wonderful community for your generous support!”

Kim was also thankful. “We feel incredibly blessed to live in such an amazing community with so many caring and kind people,” she said. “We are grateful to Cedar Springs Brewing Company for holding the event, all the employees who worked so hard, and everyone who showed up to support our family and make it such a successful night!”

Brison was diagnosed a year ago with an inoperable brain tumor – DIPG. Conventional treatment did not work, and doctors here had nothing left they could do. The Rickers then sought alternative treatment at the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. His treatments cost $17,000 per week, but the tumor has shrunk, and the medication is working. “Brison is continuing to push hard with physical therapy and getting stronger and more mobile everyday,” remarked Kim.

Then, as the Post reported back at the end of December, Brison’s brother, Preston, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He recently had surgery to remove his thyroid and several lymph nodes on each side of his neck. “Preston is doing well and will do radioactive iodine in three weeks or so,” said Kim.

It’s been a big blow to a family that has already had to endure more than their share of trials. But their faith in God and support of the community is what carries them through. (Also see the WM Pursuit story on page 10 to see how the wrestling community has recently raised funds for the Ricker family.)

If you would like to help this family, you can donate through their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong and follow the Team Rickerstrong page on Facebook for fundraising updates.

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Year in Review: Cedar Springs community is #rickerstrong


Ricker Family: L to R Preston, Brian, Brison, and Kim.

Ricker Family: L to R Preston, Brian, Brison, and Kim.

By Judy Reed

Another amazing story in 2016 is the way that the Cedar Springs community has embraced a local family and supported them in their fight against a rare brain tumor. Before symptoms began last fall, Brison Ricker was a happy, well-liked and athletic teen, who loved riding dirt bikes with his younger brother Preston, and playing soccer. In January 2016, Brison was diagnosed with 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. The tumor is inoperable because it grows through the brain stem, and half of patients die within 9 months. A gofundme page was set up to help the Rickers with expenses, and groups began holding fundraisers—and praying. Then, in the late spring, Brison’s family was told to take Brison home and call in hospice because he didn’t have long to live.

But Brison’s parents, Brian and Kim Ricker, are strong in their faith in God, and believed there was another way to beat it. They sought alternative treatment at the Burzynski clinic in Texas—a treatment that had reportedly had some good results in other patients, but was not covered by insurance—and would run $17,000 a month for the treatments alone, not including loss of income from the parents staying home to take care of Brison. The community has continued with fundraising drives to help the family meet the costs, and continued to pray, and though Brison has gone through some tough stretches, his MRI shows he is making progress. Unfortunately, on the same day last week that they received the good news on Brison’s progress, they were hit with the news that Brison’s younger brother Preston, has thyroid cancer. He is due to be operated on next month. If you would like to help this family, you can donate through their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong.

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Festival raises funds for local teen


Brison Ricker attended the festival for a short time last Saturday. Post photo by J. Reed.

Brison Ricker attended the festival for a short time last Saturday. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Last weekend’s Music Festival and Family Fun and Games event at Skinner Field in Cedar Springs raised $9,000 for Brison Ricker, a Cedar Springs High School student diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

The event featured several live bands, a peek inside a hot air balloon, games for kids, a cake walk, a dunk tank, a baked good sale, silent auction, many items that were raffled off, concessions, and a lunch provided by The Grilling Company.

The event was organized by teen Kevin Galloway, and Perry Hopkins, owners of Perry’s Place. Galloway wanted to do something for Brison, and approached the CBDT last summer, and Hopkins, who is part of the CBDT, then worked with him to plan out the Festival with the help of Team Brison, the group helping to fund medical treatments for Brison through various events.

“It was a success,” said Galloway. “We had a lot of fun and we were able to raise some money for a great family.”

Hopkins said he was pleased with the turn out, despite the weather.

Brison has been undergoing alternative medical treatments to treat his DiPG, after conventional medical treatments failed. The treatments appear to be working, but cost $17,000 a month and are not covered by insurance.

For anyone who would like to donate to Brison, you can visit his gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/brisonricker.

 

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