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Great Falls child in remission from leukemia

ryder playing a video game
Ryder and his siter
Ryder at hospital getting treatment
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 11:36:07-05

GREAT FALLS — Most eight-year old boys, even in rough weather, want to go outside and play. Most 8 year old boys want to see there friends. Most 8 year old boys are able to go to school. These are all normal things for a healthy young kid. But the last year the life of Ryder Herrald has been anything but normal.

Before the summer of 2023 Ryder was living the typical life of a 7 year old boy. But, what started off as leg pains and general fatigue grew into more and more concern. After doctors in Great Falls were unable to resolve the issue, Ryder’s mother took him to a hospital in Kalispell. In June of 2023 Ryder was diagnosed with Leukemia.

In an instance Ryder was living in a hospital, receiving daily treatment, and not allowed to even be near almost anyone for fear of getting sick. This has become the norm for him, but there is a promise in the near future. 28 days after his diagnosis Ryder went into remission.

His cancer has continued to recede ever since and soon he will be able to return to class and play with his friends again. His mother opened up about their worries, “He’s worried about being bullied, but the kids know why he doesn’t have hair”. Ryder has had the support of his mother, father, and 5 sisters right from the start. “I shaved my head completely. I buzz cut it. I find it more of a bond that we get to grow our hair together”  shared his sister Bailey. Many others in the community have also cut off their hair in support of Ryder’s struggles.

Usually after his treatment Ryder is quite tired. “Each time they increase his dosage” his father said. “It really takes a lot out of him”. Luckily when I went to go visit with his family Ryder was excited to play his video games. He had quite the appetite too! “I’m hungry” Ryder quipped, “Can I have a snack now?” He was clearly having a good day. Not everyday is so great though. “It’s been so hard. He wants to be around people, he wants to play and go outside,” his sister said with some emotion in her eyes.

His family has had to spend a lot on his medical treatment. “It’s been hard… he’s probably had 15 or 20 spinal taps since June.

While he still has to play inside for a bit, Ryder is excited to get back to school soon and be regular kid again.

The family created a GoFundMe to help cover the medical expenses; click here to if you would like to donate.