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Remembering Ryder

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"Father we come before you this morning hearts heavy," said the pastor.

This story has the ending that nobody thought would actually happen. 6 year-old Ryder Jack Herring passed away on March 14 after battling brain cancer for half of his short life.

"Not only did Ryder raise awareness not only did he give people a sense of purpose but Ryder changed lives."

Of the many lives he changed, one of the most profound was the person who gave him life; Ryder's mom, Elly.

"Mama! Mama!," cried Ryder eight months earlier. Ryder's family has learned that there's nothing they can do to cure his cancer. Except pray for a miracle.

"And that was really the time where I started to just ask myself, 'What am I doing with my life?' I wasn't in the right place," said Elly.

Mom was at the fundraisers, the doctor's visits, she even got a tattoo of him. It was a full 180 from the darkness that had engulfed her life.

"I was into the drugs and myself and I was dealing with everything in my own way. And none of that really put Ryder first," she said.

When word came that Ryder had little time left it was almost too much for her.

"At the beginning when I found out the prognosis I was ready to go with him. I didn't want to be here without him," she said.

Fortunately for Elly, Ryder had enough life left in him for both of them.

"I had a come to God moment where it was just, "What am I doing and where do I need to be?' and I was answered with I need to be right here," she said.

She would find strength in fighting for him. Her own voice growing stronger as her son's weakened.

In the end, with his blue mohawk and surrounded by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stuff, it would be his innocence that shielded him from the fears that grownups have about death.

"He's not scared. He doesn't know to be scared. And that's the biggest blessing, I think," she said.

This story has the ending that nobody thought would actually happen.

"Ryder means mounted warrior and messenger. And nobody ever fit their name better," said Tom DeClue in his eulogy.

But with that grief and anguish, comes an appreciation of just how many lives he touched in how short a time he had.

"He's a hero for a lot of people. He definitely saved me," said Elly.

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