ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – Ryan Kitchens continues in his struggle with an aggressive form of brain cancer. However, signs of love and hope have poured in from supporters near and far.
Kitchens, 7, is battling medulloblastoma. WHNT News 19 profiled him in October. He had fought the cancer for more than a year, while his family stood at his side. At one point, extensive surgeries and chemotherapy treatment rendered him cancer-free, but within three months it was back, and the family’s finances were gone.
Help poured in for his family, exceeding what they had wished for to help with burial costs they face in the near future. His mother’s fears over how she would afford to bury him touched thousands of people and moved them to donate more than $40,000 in a matter of weeks.
“You were able to purchase or reserve everything Ryan wanted?” we asked.
“Yes, he has his Alabama Crimson Tide casket. We had a special company design his headstone and it will be Alabama themed. Everything is ready,” Jasmine Davis said.
At Ryan’s last MRI last week, doctors warned his health would deteriorate quickly. The tumors in his brain had doubled in size. But, no surprise to his mom, Ryan wanted to know the details, so she told him.
“Everything is still headed down the same road,” Davis said. “How was he with that?” we asked. “He was good,” she replied. “He said ‘OK momma’.”
Ryan refused an oral chemotherapy that would likely have made him sick to no avail. He decided he just wanted to have fun.
“We decided to put it in God’s hands and let my baby play,” said Davis.
This week, the Kitchens family will celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Although Ryan’s condition has worsened, his spirit remains strong, and so does his love for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Many people heard about Ryan, including current players for the Crimson Tide. They wanted to do something special for him.
Player Barrett Jones had his teammates sign one football, and an anonymous donor gave us another football signed by coaches, along with four tickets to the Iron Bowl.
WHNT News 19 delivered the footballs and tickets to Ryan on Wednesday.
The family has been celebrating holidays early, enjoying games, and making memories. Jasmine says she talks with Ryan about heaven.
“I’m like, ‘You’re gonna be my angel. I might not be able to see you, and can’t hear you, but you just keep coming to see me.’ And he goes, ‘I will, Mom, I will’,” Davis told us.
So the family’s needs have been met and they can go into this holiday giving thanks for every precious moment they have.
Jasmine Davis says she has shared some of the money donated with other families whose children are battling various forms of cancer.
We’d also like to say thank you to Alabama football player Barrett Jones for helping get one of those footballs signed by members of the team.