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Tag Archive | "Cora Gonzalez"

Scholarship fund set up in honor of Cora Gonzalez

Cora Gonzalez was a happy, spunky fifth-grader at Cedar View Elementary. She died in October 2017 from injuries she suffered after being hit by a car. Courtesy photo.

Purple out game set for October 20

As the anniversary of the death of sweet Cora Gonzalez nears, both the Gonzalez family and Cedar Springs AYSO knew they wanted to do something to honor her memory.

Cora, 11, was the daughter of George and Cookie Gonzalez. She was hit by a car on  October 6, 2017, and died from her injuries on October 25, 2017. The Gonzales family knew from the beginning they wanted to set up a special scholarship fund in Cora’s name. Cora was a giver and her family wanted to honor her by giving back. Cora was a gifted athlete, but her heart is what many remember best about her. 

“Her spunk and love of life was evident all the time. Setting up a scholarship fund is a fantastic way for us to remember Cora while helping kids in her community be able to play soccer, a sport she loved,” said Cookie. 

Cora was a member of Cedar Springs AYSO and they wanted to do something fun and special in her honor. The Purple Out day was an idea board member Michelle Tate came up with. “I just wanted to support the Gonzales family and I knew others would as well. It was an idea to celebrate the spirit of Cora with a fun day of fundraising for the scholarship fund.” The rest of the board felt it was a great idea. The thought of players donning their purple, Cora’s favorite color, while playing the game she loved so much was a perfect fit.”

The Gonzales family along with Cedar Springs AYSO would like to invite our community to the 1st Annual Purple Out games to benefit the Cora Gonzales Memorial Scholarship fund on Saturday, October 20.  Almost all of the AYSO games are home that Saturday so it is a perfect day to hold the event.  All AYSO players will be wearing purple soccer socks with their uniforms to show their support. Neighboring regions are invited to join in as well, even if they don’t have games in Cedar Springs that day.

This is an all-day, free event at Boomer Park on Ritchie Ave. “Our first game starts at 9 a.m., the last starts at 4 p.m. Mata’s Fun Foods will be joining us, we will have face painting and a silent auction. All proceeds go to the scholarship fund. Come on out for some awesome soccer and fundraising for a good cause!” said Nozkowski.

If you are interested in donating items for the silent auction please contact Michelle at registrar902@gmail.com.  If you would like to lend a hand throughout the day, please contact Anna at anozkowski@gmail.com.

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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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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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