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Tag Archive | "#Rickerstrong"

Hometown Happenings


Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.


Cancer Benefit Sale for Emma Orr

Aug. 31: A Cancer Benefit Sale will be held August 31st to September 4th from 9 am – 6 pm at 3373 Egner, Cedar Springs. 9 year old Emma of Cedar Springs is battling neuroblastoma.100 percent of the proceeds will go to Emma and her family. For questions or to drop off donations for the yard sale please contact Nicole at 616-263-9662 or Robin at 616-696-2798. #35

God’s Kitchen in Cedar Springs

Sept. 5,12,19,26: Join us for dinner every Tuesday. God’s Kitchen – Cedar Springs welcomes families from Northern Kent County and the surrounding area to a Tuesday Evening Meal. No charge – no registration required!  Served from 5:30 – 6:30 pm at the St. John Paul II Parish, 3110 – 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs. For more information, call the Church office at 616-696-3904. #35

Actors del Arte Ensemble Auditions

Sept. 5,7,12: Actors del Arte Ensemble of West Michigan will be holding auditions for a Hoot’n & Holler’n Comedy “Welcome to Chicken Scratch.” Sept 5th and 7th and Sept 12th (6-8pm) at Rockford Reformed Church 11 Mile Rd., Rockford. Looking for Adults,Teens and Children. Info 616-874-5264. #35

Help Promote Literacy

Sept. 5,12,14,29: The need is urgent at this time! The Literacy Center of West Michigan has scheduled  information sessions for prospective volunteer tutors. These sessions last one hour. It allows persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors to find out more about the Literacy Center and its programs. At the end of the session there will be a chance to sign up for tutor training. Sessions are Tuesday, September 5th at 6 pm, Tuesday, September 12th at 2 pm, Thursday, September 14th at 6 pm and Friday, September 29th at 10 am. By training people to be tutors, the Center can offer one-on-one reading help to adults asking for assistance in reading or English as a Second Language (ESL). You do not need to speak another language to tutor ESL. The Literacy Center of West Michigan is located at 1120 Monroe Ave., NW, Suite 240, Grand Rapids. Please call 616-459-5151 (ext. 10) or email us at info@literacycenterwm.org to register. #35

Food & Faith Free Family Picnic

Sept. 6: You are invited to a Food & Faith Family Picnic at CS United Methodist Church on Wednesday, September 6th at 6 pm in the Fellowship Hall. FREE family event. Food, games, prizes, for all ages. Contact Sally at 616-788-8225 or office@cedarspringsumc.org. Bring a dish to pass if you wish. #34,35b

Rickerstrong Fundraiser Soccer Game

Sept. 7: A fundraiser Soccer game with Cedar Springs vs Greenville will be held at Cedar Springs High School, 204 E. Muskegon, on Thursday, September 7th. There will also be an aluminum can drive, T-shirt sale and 50/50 raffle. All proceeds go to help the Ricker boys fight their battle with cancer. Read their story on facebook @ Team Rickerstrong. #35

Chicken BBQ and Rummage Sale

Sept. 8,9: Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church, 10295 Myers Lake Rd., Rockford, is having their annual Chicken BBQ, Rummage and Bake Sale. The rummage and bake sale is Friday, September 8th from 9 am to 4 pm, Saturday, September 9th, from 9 am to 7 pm. BBQ Chicken will be available on Saturday, September 9th from 4 to 7 pm. Half chicken and fixin’s, dine in or carry out. $10.00. All proceeds go toward community programs in 2018. #35,36b

A Different Kind of Selfie at KDL

Sept. 9: Creating Self-Portraits Using Mixed Media. Anyone can create art and what better subject than your own beautiful face! Using a variety of unique materials and a canvas, create your own version of yourself to show the world. For ages 6 and older. September 9th at 1:30 pm at Nelson Township/Sand Lake KDL Branch, 88 Eighth St. #35

10th Anniversary Picnic

Sept. 10: American Legion Post #120 in Rockford will hold its 10th Anniversary Picnic on Sunday, September 10th from 12 noon to 6 pm. Public Welcome! Chicken Dinner, Adults $6.00, kids $2.00. Games, horseshoe tournament, music and prizes. #35

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Ricker family fundraisers


The Ricker Family

The Ricker Family

Various groups are putting on fundraisers over the next couple of weeks to help pay for medical bills for two teen brothers in our community that are battling cancer: Brison and Preston Ricker. Brison has an inoperable brain tumor (DIPG) and Preston recently had surgery for thyroid cancer. They are the sons of Brian and Kim Ricker, of Nelson Township. These are the ones we know about:

Varsity basketball fundraiser

FEB. 17: Please join the Cedar Springs Girls and Boys Basketball programs this Friday, February 17, as they host Forest Hills Central in a #rickerstrong game. Many activities are planned for the evening, which starts at 5:30 p.m. with the boys game. Please pack these stands and bring your wallets as we come together to raise money for this awesome family that is battling cancer! We will have a 50/50, raffling off these fabulous corn hole boards that Steve Elliston made and painted by hand and donated, as well as some half time shooting. It is also Senior Night-the last night these senior boys and girls will suit up and play in the Red Hawk gym.

FFA Silent Auction

FEB. 17-24: The FFA at Cedar Springs High School is holding a series of fundraisers for the Ricker family, in conjunction with National FFA week. The first is a silent auction at both Family Farm and Home and Quality Farm and Fleet, and starts this Friday, February 17 and runs until February 24. Several businesses have donated items, and the FFA will also include some of their own homemade maple syrup and pancake mix in the baskets. They hope to have a couple of tables set up at each store, so stop in at both stores and bid on your favorite items.

Movie at the Kent Theatre: Miracles from Heaven

FEB. 22: The FFA is sponsoring the movie “Miracles from Heaven” at the Kent Theatre on Wednesday, February 22, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $3. All proceeds from ticket sales and a portion of concession sales will go to the Ricker family. A donation jar will also be set up for anyone wishing to donate more to the family’s medical expenses. The movie, starring Jennifer Garner, is based on the true story of a young girl who was miraculously cured from her illness.

Spaghetti dinner 

FEB. 26: Classic Kelly’s Family Restaurant, 356 N. Main Street, Cedar Springs, is holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Ricker family on Sunday, February 26, from 6-8:30 p.m. They will provide either a sit down or take out dinner for $10 each, with all proceeds going to the Ricker family. #Rickerstrong t-shirts will also be available to buy that night.

Dinner at Culver’s

FEB. 28: The FFA is holding a fundraising dinner for the Rickers at Culver’s of Comstock Park, located at 4280 Alpine, on Tuesday, February 28, from 5-30-8 p.m. Ten percent of proceeds will go to the Ricker family.

Other things the FFA is doing to support the Ricker family include selling bracelets at the high school that say  “Farming for a cause #rickerstrong” and running a “Kiss the Pig” contest in classrooms. For the Kiss the Pig contest, 24 piggybanks have been set up in various classrooms. According to teacher Larry Reyburn, the top five classrooms that collect the most change will win, and those lucky teachers will get to kiss a baby pig supplied by the FFA. Paper money doesn’t count, so if they don’t want to kiss the pig, they can stuff the piggyback with dollar bills. Fun stuff! FFA students Heather Beverwyk and Kate Hall have been in charge of organizing the current FFA fundraisers for the Ricker family.

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Community pulls together for brothers battling cancer


Carts full of cans were lined up inside and outside the Cedar Springs Meijer store Monday and Tuesday, as volunteers worked to feed over 86,000 of them into the machines. Photo courtesy of Team Rickerstrong.

Carts full of cans were lined up inside and outside the Cedar Springs Meijer store Monday and Tuesday, as volunteers worked to feed over 86,000 of them into the machines. Photo courtesy of Team Rickerstrong.

Teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, is getting better with the alternative treatments he is getting from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. Photo from the Ricker’s gofundme page.

Teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, is getting better with the alternative treatments he is getting from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. Photo from the Ricker’s gofundme page.

By Judy Reed

The greater Cedar Springs community has shown their support over the last nine months for the family of Brison and Preston Ricker, two teen brothers fighting cancer, but the massive number of cans donated at their annual can drive at Meijer this week took everyone by surprise.

This month’s drive started at 5 p.m. Monday, and by 11 p.m. Monday evening, they had to stop counting. Volunteers returned on Tuesday evening, hoping to finish it off. But the cans kept coming, and at last count, over 86,000 cans were donated, and they still have a trailer that is 2/3 full of cans that they are holding until next month.

“We knew that this month’s can drive would be a larger turnout but honestly we were pleasantly shocked at the amount of cans that kept coming throughout the first night and continued again the second night,” said Melissa Egan, of Team Rickerstrong. “It was such a great thing to witness. So many people continue to support Brison in his fight by faithfully donating each month, but when Preston also was diagnosed…the support doubled and that is why we believe it was so much more successful.”

Egan said that they cannot express appreciation enough for the continued support from not only our community, but surrounding communities. “The love, prayers and support for this family is truly amazing. And who would have thought that a can drive that originally started as a way to possibly raise a quick $500 here or there would turn into a monthly fundraiser that has now brought over $30,000! Each month we have loyal volunteers that help feed machines or empty returnables into carts…ranging from adults to kids, all wanting to support the Ricker family.”

Team Rickerstrong started the once a month can drives in July, when the family took Brison to Texas to be seen and treated at the Burzynski Clinic. Dr. Burzynski offered an alternative treatment for Brison’s inoperable brain tumor (DIPG), which conventional treatment could not eradicate. He had been given only months to live. But this alternative costs $17,000 a month, paid up front. And it is not covered under insurance. The good news is that it is working, and Brison is feeling better than he has in months, according to his mom, Kim Ricker. He is eating again, and getting stronger, but not yet walking on his own. He even went to Swirl last weekend, which she said made him really happy.

Preston, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December, and had it surgically removed in January, is recovering, and will soon start radioactive iodine therapy.

Kim was also thankful for the success of this week’s can drive. “It was incredible to see the out pouring of love and support with all the cans that were donated! Although a majority of them came from this amazing community, we had people from surrounding communities and even as far as Caledonia donating their cans. We feel so blessed and are truly grateful to everyone who donated, and all the people who worked so hard getting over 86,000 cans put in the machines. Of course a huge thanks to Meijer, we could do not do this without their support,” she added.

The Rickers are faced with needing a minimum of $17,000 every month for Brison’s treatment. “This has to be paid up front; it is not like normal hospital bills that can accumulate and be paid back over years,” explained Kim. “If we don’t pay, Brison doesn’t get his treatment. Although the can drive was a huge success and raised more than we could have imagined, that amount covers two weeks of treatment, so the need to keep raising funds is great.”

If you would like to donate, you can visit their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong, or participate in a fundraiser with Team Rickerstrong at https://www.facebook.com/teambrison/. You can also or send a check to them at 5370 Dio Dr., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Wrestlers raise money for Rickers


WMP wrestler Luke Egan in his #RickerStrong singlet.  Luke took home a Championship for Brison and Preston Ricker last weekend.

WMP wrestler Luke Egan in his #RickerStrong singlet.  Luke took home a Championship for Brison and Preston Ricker last weekend.

WMP finish in top four

West Michigan Pursuit traveled to Central Montcalm and Orchardview this past weekend. The Swarm of Central Montcalm hosted a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Ricker family. The raffle raised a total of $1,300 to donate to the Rickers. WMP and Cedar Springs Wrestling have also been busy selling Wrestling for a Cause t-shirts to help benefit the Rickers. Saranac Youth Wrestling also donated $150 towards this wonderful cause.

WMP had 20 grapplers enter to compete and 16 finish in the top four. 59 lb, Mason Hendrick, 9/10 age group took 4th Place. In third place was 170/195 lb Aidan Dowdell, 13/14 age group; 72 lb Tyler Parmeter, 7/8 age group; and 158 lb Maston Wood, 11/12 age group. In second place was 61 lb Quinten Cassiday, 7/8 age group; and 52 lb Kaleb Pautke, 7/8 age group.

Champions of the day were 70 lb Carter Castillo, 7/8 age group; 67 lb Chayson Eberspeaker 7/8 age group; 67 lb Luke Egan, 9/10 age group; 59 lb Landon Foss, 9/10 age group (Orchardview); 64 lb Drew Moro, 7/8 age group; 80 lb Blake Peasley, 9/10 age group; 75 lb Isaiah Sostenes, 9/10 age group; 59 lb Josh Vasquez, 9/10 age group; 55 lb Kellen Weckesser, 7/8 age group and 49 lb Blake Werkema, 4/6 age group.

“When you are in the sport for so long, you have your ‘wrestling family’ on the weekends. Support for this family has been coming from several other wrestling programs. It makes me proud to be a part such an amazing group of caring people,” said Head Coach Dave Andrus.

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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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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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Cedar Springs youth soccer night 


s-rickerstrong-one

#Rickerstrong Game 

Join the Cedar Springs Soccer teams on Tuesday October 4th, 2016, when they hold a Youth Cancer Awareness Night in support of Brison Ricker, a Cedar Springs High School Varsity Soccer player. Cedar Springs will host Greenville with JV at 5:00 p.m. and Varsity at 6:45 p.m.

There will be Face Painting, Giveaways, Raffles, Prizes, and a halftime presentation. Youth players wearing a jersey get in free with a paid adult.

Contact Kyle.Avink@gmail.com with any questions.

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Soccer team pulls out victory as ONE


s-soccer1s-soccer2Being part of a team means sacrificing yourself for what is best for those around you. This year, the Cedar Springs boys soccer program is finding out what that means on and off the field. The idea of coming together as ONE has meant more to these players than ever before. After their teammate #1, Brison Ricker, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in the late months of 2015, their goal became very clear; be one. This means more than simply playing together on a soccer field. For the Cedar Springs boys soccer program, this means honoring Brison by exemplifying the qualities that he showed on the field and continues to show every day in his battle against cancer. Being ONE means showing perseverance, positivity, high work ethic, and an unconquerable spirit on and off the field.

Any coach will tell you that success begins to happen when everything your team has worked for culminates in a game. On Thursday, September 8, this happened for the Cedar Springs boys soccer program when they traveled to Greenville High School. At half time the Varsity scoreboard showed a 2-0 deficit against the Red Hawks. Heads were hanging and spirits were low as the half-time whistle blew. When the second half began, they stepped on the field with 40 minutes on the clock. The team had a choice; Give up, or work. They decided to make a conscious decision to try to come together as ONE. In a hard fought battle for the next forty minutes, each player began to discover what ONE truly meant for them. Things like grit, passion, sacrifice, leadership, and unity suddenly became real. When the final whistle blew, their grit and sacrifice paid off. The team was able to pull off a 3-2 victory over Greenville High School after coming from behind 2-0.

“The players from both the JV and Varsity soccer teams walked away on Thursday night with more than just a win,” said Kyle Avink, Varsity Soccer Coach. “They walked away with a new meaning for what it meant to be part of a team. They have begun to truly understand the sacrifice it takes to be ONE. They showed that no matter what they face, together they are strong…Rickerstrong.”

#one #Rickerstrong

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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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