Friday, May 30, 2014

Cameron NC Community Pulls together for one of God’s Little Angels: John Ryan Parker.

Submitted by Verne Strickland USA DOT COM 5/30/14

This story reached me via email. When I glanced through it I quickly realized how special it was -- powerfully written, with real love and compassion. I share it with prayers for all who love and grieve.


                                  The John Ryan Parker Story
john ryan parker

Madison and Monique were still in high school when they found out that they were expecting. Madison was 17 and Monique was 16. At first it was hard to handle the news wondering what this would do to their lives. They were so young to have this responsibility. They made the decision to choose life for their baby. Then came the excitement of having a new addition to the family. Buy, buy, buy became the new trend in both households. Madison and Monique did not live together but were inseparable.

As the pregnancy progressed and after having an ultrasound they learned they were having a boy. Daddy was getting his hunting partner and future football star! Forty weeks came and went at the blink of an eye, and then it was time to start labor. On June 12, 2013 John Ryan was finally here. He was absolutely beautiful and perfect! The family brought him home too his family and friends.

After 2 weeks they learned that John Ryan had a thyroid problem. John Ryan was going to have to take medicine every day for the rest of his life to prevent him from being very small and slow. As life went on Monique nursed John Ryan, so she stopped going to high school and started home schooling because it was just too hard to be away from him. John Ryan was nursed for 6 months. Madison played football and after every practice would race over to see him each day; Madison was a hands on dad from day one. Most kids would go to high school parties, but not these two. They went out to eat and most of the time took John Ryan with them. A typical Friday or Saturday night was hanging out at either Momma or Daddy’s house.

John Ryan had to go get blood work done every month and continued growing and learning as a normal baby would. He could say momma, but mostly grunted to get what he wanted, because it worked. He could crawl and walk around furniture, play patty cake, he learned deep and wide, and loved to jump in his jumping horse. They had bought him a walker and he learned to go forward and was all over the house. He would pull hair and attack your face with lots of kisses. He had just gotten two teeth on the bottom.

Sunday was a normal day. The family went to church, then out to eat. John Ryan was so excited that he got to sit face forward in his BIG BOY car seat for the first time. Monday morning was normal as Madison took Monique to work then took John Ryan to Sugar’s (granny’s) house. He was a little whiney Monday and did not want to be put down, then started throwing up. He was slightly lethargic and just did not feel good. He started holding his face so Sugar told Madison and Monique that they should to take him to the ER. They took him to the hospital in Fayetteville. Just like a typical baby when they got there he perked up some playing a little with his daddy. He was diagnosed with an ear infection and was sent him home. They arrived back at Madison’s home about 10 pm and John Ryan was sleeping. He slept a little longer and woke up whiney again and continued to cry off and on all night with Monique and Madison alternating pain meds. At 3:20 he screamed for about 3 seconds, and then his parents started screaming for Madison’s mother, Donna. John Ryan was having seizures. After calling 911, EMS arrived very quickly and took him to Betsy Johnson Hospital. Monique rode in the ambulance with him and Madison and the 2 grannies followed.

Once they arrived at the hospital they learned that he had an infection in his blood and it was strep throat, not an ear infection. They quickly got in touch with University of North Carolina (UNC) children’s hospital and UNC walked them step-by-step on what to do. Doctors performed a CT scan and that’s when they learned about the tumor. John Ryan was put on a ventilator and that too was a blessing as he quit breathing soon after. Emergency transportation was unable to get to him right away because of an ice storm, but after 5 hrs he finally arrived at UNC After talking to the doctor his family learned that the tumor was now no longer a golf ball size as before, it was now 4 in. by 3 in. and the family was informed that there was not much hope, but they were not giving up on him.

Wednesday, March 5th was the worst day of their lives. A doctor told them there was no hope and started talking to Madison and Monique about John Ryan being a donor. At first they said NO, but later thought that John Ryan could live forever in someone else and another family would not have to go through the grief that they were experiencing. Being a donor is a very dignified and tedious process so it took a while to get everything and everyone in place. The family got to walk John Ryan to surgery. Their lives would now be forever changed. On April 2nd we received a letter (attached) that John Ryan saved 2 lives. His heart went to a baby boy in Florida and he is doing well and his intestines, pancreas and liver went to a 3 yr old little boy who is now playing with his toys and his siblings.

Donna has said, “Looking back we know that John Ryan was born with a purpose driven life. The thyroid medicine helped make him strong and have healthy organs. He was breast fed which made him healthy, he was so spoiled because he wanted us to hold him as much as possible, and he did not want to sleep because he wanted to be with us as much as he could. His kisses were the sweetest, his cries were music. God has a perfect angel.”

The story of John Ryan should serve as a reminder to embrace every precious moment that we have with our children. When faced with the trials and tribulations that life presents, you stand fast and firm in your faith and what you believe in. Knowing that when you act with the most honorable and noble intentions you may touch or lead someone else to take the correct path. Madison and Monique should be commended in their strength through the most trying times in their lives. Madison and Monique are truly Rogue Alpha’s, meaning that they did not waiver from what is right. Instead from the beginning of their journey through this tragic yet beautiful event they have touched so many lives and set a wonderful example to all who have heard and will hear their story.

We would love nothing more than for you to acknowledge our letter. I am sure you are looked up too by many and so many may see you as true hero! We would love for you to help support our little Hero for the amazing things he did in the short amount of time he was with us. The family quickly learned that glioblastoma was a cancer that is 2 to 1 in baby boys and there is no cause or cure for this disease. So research is a must! Why and how does this happen? Can scientist create a vaccine? Which leads us to what we have planned in Memory of John Ryan with all money raised going to Pediatric Brain Tumor Research at University of NC. If we hit at least $25,000 the foundation will be named John Ryan Parker Memorial Foundation. If we reach $100,000 goal his legacy will live on a building of NC Children’s Hospital. Donor services explained to them that 99% of babies die because people cannot think beyond their own grief during the loss of a child, so we would also like to draw awareness to organ donation and the importance of saving lives.
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The Parker family would like to get information out to help raise awareness and funding.

*** I know that the  date of the event has passed, but this is a reminder of what took place for the little guy and his family. I know they would appreciate a thought or comment if you care to send one.

Verne Strickland.