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Location: Athens, Ga, United States

Our son Ryan was diagnosed with stage 4 Neuroblastoma in 2004. In 2007, my wife Missy was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer. On July 8th, 2009, Missy lost her battle to this horrible disease. 2 days later, on July 10th, Ryan also lost his. Together forever, they both watch over our family now from the heavens above. Below is our families journey through Ryan's treatments, along with the joy and laughter we tried to instill into our daily lives. Those days helped us all cope with the pain and suffering that comes with cancer and it's deadly treatments. Both Missy and Ryan endured high doses of chemo, radiation and surgeries. Over 150 nights spent in the hospital and many, many more days. More transfusions than I could count. Yet both Missy and Ryan took on each day with a positive attitude and warm smile for all their friends. We miss them terribly. They will always be a shining light in our lives.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


A good word from Camp

These are some of the boys in Ryan's cabin. They are all 7 and first time Jr. Campers. I got a message from camp that Ryan was having a lot of fun. We have been able to go online each day and see pictures of him at camp. He looks like he is having fun. I sure would like to talk to him, but I guess I'll just have to wait till Saturday. We are all missing him bunches and can't wait to get him back home. Hope you have a great 4th and get to spend lots of time with your family. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Monday, June 26, 2006


More Lighthouse Pictures

The first picture is of Melinda, who has a heart of gold and who is the brain-child and driving force of the Lighthouse with all 13 mighty survivors. On the far right in pink is Taylor. We shared our house with their family. She is a sweet 14 yo girl who has had a long battle already. Taylor had strokes as an infant from her chemo and so she has trouble walking. Her right arm was amputated because of her bone cancer, but just about everytime you look at her she has this huge smile on her face. She has such a great spirit. No word as of yet from Ryan. He forgot his kitty so I mailed it to him today. Camp Sunshine puts pictures on the website each day so I am going to look for some tonight. Will and I did go fishing-in the rain. He said it was fun even if we didn't catch anything, so I feel great about that. I was already worried what I would actually do if we did catch something. Have a great week and I will post if I hear something from Ryan. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Hot Fun in the Summertime

As you can see, we had another incredible week at the Lighthouse Family Retreat. We were at Rosemary Beach again this year which is a beautiful place. We met 12 amazing families, make that 13 counting our family partners. This year there were actually 2 other Neuroblastoma children that we really enjoyed getting to know. It is always interesting to hear their stories as we can relate so well. Zoe's family is from Michigan and Mattie's family is from TN, so neither of them had any treatment at CHOA

making their stories a little different from Ryan's. There were also 2 families from Illinois. Looks like Melinda's dream is spreading across the country!! We loved getting to see all the Howards. All seven of them were back volunteering. They are an awesome family. Our new family partners this year live in Marietta, and we are looking forward to seeing them again very soon. You can see Ryan having a ball doing cannonballs between his dad and our family partner dad, Smith. They hit it off right away. I don't know which one had more fun!! They have 2 beautiful daughters that our kids had a great time playing with, and their mom, Julie has such a huge heart. We were surprised every night with special treats. Good thing Ryan is off at camp this week. He was getting real used to finding a special surprise on his bed every night. We got him off to camp without any tears. He was so excited. He helped me pack all his things, and he even threw in a few things while I wasn't watching. He is going to make one cute cowboy!! It is going to be a very long week for us. I am going to get in some much needed one on one time with Heidi and Will. We are going to be selling raffle tickets to benefit the Lighthouse. You can win a one-week stay at beautiful WaterColor (between Destin and Panama City). All of those communities right in there are beautiful and very upscale. One of the houses that was donated for our use last year just sold for 12 million if that gives you any idea. The tickets sell for $20. Email us at and let us know if you'd like to get one or maybe a few. Maybe after my fishing trip with Will tomorrow I can add some more photos. Have an awesome week with your families, and please continue to pray for Ryan and all his friends, old and new. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Friday, June 16, 2006


Please pray for Ryan's friends

Just as you check on Ryan and pray for his good health, we have several "friends" we check on regularly and pray, pray, pray for. We had never met little Jacob, but reading his updates and knowing the fear connection of cancer, we felt like we knew him and his family well. Jacob passed earlier this week after the most incredible fight. Their faith and hope are inspirational. The link to their site is a few journal entries below. They have asked that to celebrate Jacob's life on Saturday you do something special with your family, making sure to include lots of smiles, hugs, and laughter. Also, they are having a balloon release Saturday morning at 11:30. Please release a balloon in his honor wherever you are. We will be at our swim meet (where else?), but we will take a few with us. We also have a boy with NB in Colorado that we pray for a great deal. His name is Nathan. He has relapsed in his bone marrow. Please visit their site and offer some prayer and encouragement. And, lastly, one of our Camp Sunshine buddies, Dustin, has relapsed a few times with NB, and this last trial they are on doesn't seem to be working. Please pray they will find a new drug that will send his cancer back into remission. Ryan has a had a great week. He is looking for his friend Jena to come swim today with his Miss Jr. Relay twin, Candler. I know that will be lots of fun. I have to tell you something funny he told my mom. He wanted to play in the rain we had earlier in the week. She told him to come out of the rain so he wouldn't catch a cold. He told her, " But I have had a cold ever since I had cancer!" His little nose never stops running in spite of a daily Alavert and Nasonex. We keep hoping that it will go away, but we may have to look into something else. Please continue to pray for Ryan's good health. Have an awesome weekend and a very happy Father's Day. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Monday, June 12, 2006


More good test results

We got Ryan's urine results this morning from the clinic. Everything looks great. His numbers actually came down a little bit. His blood counts were good, and then Dr. Anderson called with the CT results. Everything looks good there, too. Nothing showed up in his liver or anywhere!! We thank God constantly and pray for his continued good health. We are enjoying a little slower pace this week. I have to try and get Ryan ready for a week at Camp Sunshine. He goes there the day after we get back from the Lighthouse. We are headed to the Ga. Aquarium on Thursday. We have not been yet, so that will be a big treat. I just hope our legs don't give out on us. Thanks for checking in on us and for your continued prayers for Ryan. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Thursday, June 08, 2006



What an awesome and l-o-n-g day we have had. Ryan's CT scan went really well. Scottish Rite has a brand new CT machine that is really fast. Les was wearing his thinking cap today, and he remembered to get his labs drawn while he had the IV so we could avoid another needle stick at the clinic. We were so relieved to hear that Ryan's PET scan was clear. Dr. Anderson thought Ryan looked fantastic, and we will wait 6 months for the next scan!! We are going to stick with the PET and CT and probably not do another MIBG. No more SSKI?? That stuff is nasty! We will go back for a check-up in 3 months and will get his catecholomines checked at a lab in Athens in 6 weeks. Our prayers were definitely answered today. We cannot thank everyone enough for all your prayers for Ryan and our family. We feel truly blessed to have so many friends that genuinely care about Ryan. And so we go on with our fabulously normal lives. We have a big swim meet on Saturday and we are all looking forward to our trip to the Lighthouse at Rosemary Beach the week after next. The pictures are of the kids in their tree fort and Ryan ready for the backstroke at our meet last night. Have a fabulous weekend. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


"The Easiest Scan Ever"

Just a quick update to let you know how great things went today. We had an easy trip down and back. The traffic is a lot better when school is out. Ryan's injection went well. One small stick did the trick. He wasn't too crazy about drinking the regular contrast. No Gatorade today, but they weren't too hard on him about it. This CT done with the PET is a little different. They aren't really looking for anything on the CT, but just do it so if anything should show up on the PET, the CT lets them know where it is. Does that make sense? Les was able to stay with him during the scan, and I know that helped Ryan a lot. He was so calm he fell asleep. He told me it was the easiest scan ever. We made our appt. to Dr. Marcus, and Ryan got to see a few of his buddies. Radiation was definitely his favorite part of his treatment. Dr. Marcus checked him over, and thought he looked great. We will go back to see him next year just so he can keep a check on Ryan's growth. Speaking of growing, he weighed 43.5 pounds today and was 45 inches tall. We knew he had grown some. We had to stop and get him a little toy on the way home. He has wanted a toy paint-ball gun so this was the perfect opportunity. He and Will have had fun with it all afternoon. He is looking forward to our swim meet tomorrow in Cumming, and then we go to Scottish Rite on Thursday for his CT. We are thinking we will get all the results then. Thank you for your prayers for Ryan. Please keep praying that these scans will be clear. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

Monday, June 05, 2006


Get Your Cup of Alex's Lemonade

You can buy a cup of Alex's Lemonade this Saturday at any Macy's. I think the hours are from 11 to 5. Isn't it just fabulous that Macy's is helping in such a big way?? Ryan has been feeling great lately. We will head down to Emory tomorrow morning for his PET scan. Hopefully, we have it all worked out with the sedation team. It has been a little confusing this past week. I have talked to people in so many different departments. I just hope they are talking to each other and we are all on the same page. We want to be able to make it to see Dr. Marcus at 11. We don't look for results until Thursday. He will see Dr.s Anderson and either George or Rapkin after his CT scan. We had a fun swim meet Saturday morning. Ryan had the quote for the day: "I got 2 blue ribbons. One for my relay, and I found one!!" What more could you ask for? Please keep praying for clear scans, and little Jacob Duckworth could use your prayers, also. We will post when we get results. Love, Les, Missy, Heidi, Will, and SuperRyan

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