Ryder was diagnosed with lymphatic malformations when his mother Emily Hamrick was 20 weeks pregnant.
The condition caused the boy’s neck, throat, and face to swell.
When Ryder was born five weeks early, his face and neck were out of proportion. Ryder has had 150 surgical procedures and he is only 7 years old.
After removing his tonsils four years ago, he developed pharyngeal stenosis which has caused his throat to tighten and close. Since then, he requires procedures every six weeks to breathe, communicate, and eat.
The mother raised more than enough money for Ryder to get a surgical procedure that would allow her son to live without his trach and g-tube.
“The disease has left him with a very large chin area, it looks much better than when he was a baby as his body has continued to grow – sadly it means a lot of people stare at him,” Emily told Caters News.
Nevertheless, Ryder’s charming personality seems to thwart any snap judgments.
“But he’s great in public, he introduces himself to any person who is looking at him and is never rude,” she said. “Ryder has an infectious personality, so people adore him. They pray with him in the middle of grocery stores and give him things a lot. His personality draws them in.”
According to Caters News, doctors were not optimistic that Ryder would survive, yet he is defeating the odds. Recently, Ryder began kindergarten. While Emily expected the worst, she was met with the best.
“When he joined kindergarten this year, it was a big step for us all, it was a lot of exposure, so I sent home a letter to all of the kids in his class explaining how similar he is to them,” she said.
“I wrote in there, ‘I’m going to be in your class, I look different but like all the same things you do’, it was really well received and the best thing I could have done.”
Ryder is expected to undergo the pioneering surgery this spring. He will be the first person to receive it at the Children’s Hospital of Texas. The procedure could change his life for ever and break ground for others like him.
“It’s amazing to see how people respond. It gives me the confidence in society because despite being different, every around him seems to love him,” she said.
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Photo: Caters News
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