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Tag Archive | "thyroid cancer"

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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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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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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