Butler County 7-year-old gets a birthday gift of a lifetime

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:13 PM EST
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HAMILTON, Ohio (WXIX) - A Hamilton second grader battling a rare brain cancer arrived at school Tuesday morning and received an early birthday gift.

Rydder Ames turns eight on Jan. 30.

The seven-year-old is battling a rare form of brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma or DIPG.

Brookwood Elementary Principal Aileen Ernst found out about Rydder’s birthday and asked his family if they would like to come to the school.

Second-grade students wrote notes and cards to give to Rydder to help him as he goes through cancer treatments.

“Dear Rydder, we have been hoping that you feel better. You are strong. I know that because of how much you have been fighting through all of this. You are like a superhero, and I am cheering you on. You will always be my friend, no matter what you look like. Your friend Ivy.”

Rydders father, Brian Ames, watched his son’s classmates read heartfelt messages and remembered the day their lives changed.

“I give credit to mom on that one. She noticed something wasn’t right when we bought him home from school. Something was off. He kept saying something about a headache,” Brian Ames said

Rydders parents had him lie down and took him out for his favorite sweet treat, ice cream.

Ames says Rydder couldn’t hold his cone so they rushed him to the hospital.

“They did a CT scan down to mass and immediately sent us from Liberty to down to downtown, and they did an MRI, and that’s when our whole lives changed,” Ames said

He says that’s when the family learned Rydder was battling DIPG.

“It attacks pretty much the center of your brain. It goes down into your pawns and all of that, it controls all motor functions of your entire body, and it will eventually take them out one by one by one until it wins,” Ames said.

He says doctors have performed every medical procedure they can at this time but have no cure for the rare form of brain cancer.

Now, Rydder is at home with his family which Ames says is draining because they don’t know what the next day will bring.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. It’s been hard. You’ve got two other boys to worry about. You’ve got him. You’ve got. Are we going to beat this? You’ve got everything piling in at once,” he said.

Aileen Ernst is the first-year principal at Brookwood and says most importantly is a mom and she treats Rydder and every student at Brookwood as if they were her children.

“It’s been really cool to see all of our students, whether they are someone who has known Rydder since kindergarten, or maybe it’s a student who is just learning about him through making these cards, but it’s been really cool to see our school community,” Ernst said.

“Dear Rydder. We miss you. We love you. We are hoping to see you. We’re here for you. You’re a winner. We want you back. You’re a hero. Hero is your new name. You’re a fighter. We’re here for you. Ryder strong from Bailey.”

“He’s always been involved with everybody, always right in the center of all the family, all of his friends. He’s always been right there, so I can assure you he’s enjoying it,” Ames said.

Anyone at home interested in sending cards to Rydder can do so at PO BOX 13401, Hamilton, Ohio, 45013.

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