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Tag Archive | "Preston 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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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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