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Tag Archive | "Kim Ricker"

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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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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Benefit raises over $2000 for Ricker family


 

Brison headed back to Texas for more treatment

Classic Kelly’s raised over $2000 for the Ricker family at a spaghetti dinner benefit Sunday evening. Photo from Classic Kelly’s facebook page.

Classic Kelly’s raised over $2000 for the Ricker family at a spaghetti dinner benefit Sunday evening. Photo from Classic Kelly’s facebook page.

By Judy Reed

Classic Kelly’s Family Restaurant put on a spaghetti dinner benefit for the family of Brison and Preston Ricker Sunday night, and raised over $2200 to help them with the medical costs of fighting cancer.

The restaurant put on the benefit during the evening dinner hours, and donated 100 percent of the proceeds to the Rickers. All the employees at the restaurant donated their time to the cause. Dinners were sold for $10 each.

The next fundraiser will be the March can drive at Meijer in Cedar Springs on Monday, 6, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Brison was diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain tumor called DIPG a year ago, and his younger brother Preston was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December. Preston has had surgery and other therapy, and Brison has been undergoing alternative cancer treatments since last summer, after his oncologist here said there was nothing more they could do. Those treatments are $17,000 per month, and not covered by insurance.

Brison had showed signs of getting better and feeling better, and his family was hopeful that his latest MRI’s would show that progress. However, according to Brison’s mom, Kim Ricker, the latest spinal MRI shows progression, with several spots on the lining of his brain, and extensive nodular enhancing metastatic disease along his spine. Doctors here had been giving him his Avastin treatment free of charge, but will not do that now, since they don’t believe it is working. That will be another $7,000 per month the family will need to pay. The doctors here have offered full brain and spinal radiation, but Kim said that is not an option they are considering because of the great harm involved with radiation.

They will be traveling back to Texas next week, where Brison will be started on an additional Antineoplaston treatment.

To donate to the Ricker family through their gofundme page, go to https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong.

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Soccer teams raise funds for teen with cancer


Brison being pushed out on to the field during the event. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.

Brison being pushed out on to the field during the event. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.

Brison Ricker smiles as he sees his teammates lined up holding signs that spell out Rickerstrong#one at Tuesday’s fundraising game between Greenville and Cedar Springs. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.

Brison Ricker smiles as he sees his teammates lined up holding signs that spell out Rickerstrong#one at Tuesday’s fundraising game between Greenville and Cedar Springs. Photo by K. Alvesteffer/R. LaLone.

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs and Greenville Varsity Soccer teams might be rivals on the field, but they were teammates for a cause Tuesday evening, October 4, as they raised money for medical treatment for Cedar Springs teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor.

At this time last year, Brison was a freshman playing for the Varsity Red Hawks, and was voted offensive player of the year. He was diagnosed in January with the tumor.

“It was an amazing night and I’m so glad Brison was feeling well enough for our family to be there,” said Brison’s mom, Kim Ricker. “It was incredible how many people came out to support Brison, the stands were full of people and love. We are so grateful to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to be there, and extra grateful for all the people who volunteered and worked hard to make it such a successful night.”

It was the annual youth soccer night, combined with the fundraising event, so it was nicknamed the #Rickerstrong Game. “The high school soccer parents, along with help from the Student Leadership Council and the Athletic Leadership Council, promoted the event to try to bring in a record crowd and student section to cheer on the boys in their game against Greenville High School,” explained parent Barb Dreyer. “We chose this game to have this event because Brison Ricker played soccer with several of the boys from the Greenville team so it meant a lot to them to be able to help raise money for the family also.”

“We sold T-shirts, cotton candy, glow necklaces, balloons and had a huge auction to help raise money for the family,” explained Dreyer. Greenville and Cedar Springs teams had a pop can drive challenge to see who could bring in the most cans. “Although Greenville brought in a ton of cans, Cedar Springs won because this community is just amazing!” remarked Dreyer. “People who didn’t even go to the game dropped off their cans at the high school anyway. We had to bring in a second trailer to collect them all.”

Both communities helped bring in donations and worked together to raise $4748.20 for the Ricker’s accumulating medical bills, which doesn’t include all the cans. “We also collected an astronomical number of cans that we will return soon to add to that total,” said Dreyer. She said she thinks it could be at least another $1,000.

Brison’s medical bills for treatment are around $17,000 per month. Conventional treatments were not working, and his doctor felt there was nothing more they could do, so the Rickers sought out an alternative treatment for Brison, and he has seen improvement on the protocol.

Dreyer said Coach Kyle Avink gave a touching speech after the national anthem on how cancer has affected every person in some way these days, that we all know someone who has battled, is currently fighting or lost their battle with cancer. Then after a moment of silence they had a balloon release in Brison’s honor.

It was evident that Brison enjoyed the night. When the team lined up on the field with each holding a letter spelling out Rickerstrong #one, a big smile spread across his face.

“I have not seen Brison smile so much in a long time!” remarked Kim. “He was so proud of how hard his team played and that they took home a win. He was especially excited for his best friend Derek Egan who took home the rickerstrong boots last night. He left it all on the field and earned them, well deserved!”

Kim said that Brison will have another MRI next week to see how well the treatment is working. She said that they also now have a couple of doctors helping with wound care. The steroids that he was taking tore his skin apart.

“These wounds are still so painful and are the only thing holding him back right now from pushing hard like he so badly wants to, to gain his strength and mobility back,” explained Kim. “Once these are healed we have no doubt he will be out of his wheelchair and walking in no time! He can’t wait to run down a soccer field again!”

If you’d like to help Brison heal and return to the soccer field, there are several opportunities coming up to do so. The next can drive held by Team Brison will be Monday, October 10, at Meijer in Cedar Springs. They are usually in the early evening. See the Team Brison Facebook page for details. Also, next Saturday, October 15, is a big event at Skinner Field from noon to 5 p.m.—a music festival with food, fun and games to help raise funds for Brison. See page 2 for details, or check out the Team Brison facebook page. You can also make a direct donation by visiting Brison’s gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/brisonricker.

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Act of kindness overwhelms family


The Comstock Park Varsity Soccer team showed solidarity with the Cedar Springs Soccer team by giving each one of them a shirt showing their support for a cure for Brison Ricker.

The Comstock Park Varsity Soccer team showed solidarity with the Cedar Springs Soccer team by giving each one of them a shirt showing their support for a cure for Brison Ricker.

Back row (L to R): Comstock Park coach Jamie Bogart, Kim Ricker, Brian Ricker, Cedar Springs coach Kyle Avink. Front: Brison Ricker.

Back row (L to R): Comstock Park coach Jamie Bogart, Kim Ricker, Brian Ricker, Cedar Springs coach Kyle Avink. Front: Brison Ricker.

A year ago, 15-year-old Brison Ricker was playing on the Cedar Springs Red Hawk Varsity soccer team as a freshman. Just a few short months after the season ended, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has been fighting for his life ever since.

This year, Brison and his family traveled to Comstock Park to watch and support the Varsity Soccer team for their first game on August 24 against Comstock Park. But what happened at the game was something unexpected.

“It was tear-filled start to the night as the ‘opposing team’ showed our family amazing support, with a t-shirt for Brison and all the players on the CS team, a signed game ball and a donation to our family,” wrote Kim Ricker on her Facebook page. “Over $800 was raised from this team who does not even know our family personally. This shows incredible sportsmanship and what a great coach and team they are! Tonight was so much more than a game, and we are so grateful to coach Jamie Bogart and the Comstock Park Varsity Team!”

The t-shirts given to the team and to Brison had a number one on the front with Cedar Springs vs Comstock Park 8/24/2016 over it, and on the back it read: Opponents on the field; teammates for a cure. #Rickerstrong

Thank you for sharing that wonderful act of kindness!

Do you have an act of kindness you’d like to share with our readers? Shoot us an email telling us the details of what happened, along with a photo (if you have it) and your contact info, and we’ll print it as space allows.

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