CaringBridge Is Funded by People Like You

Make a donation to CaringBridge

Honor Rusty with a tax-deductible contribution to CaringBridge today.

Click here to make your donation.

Rusty’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website in honor of the Russ Man. We've created it to keep family and friends updated about his fight against metastatic Pineoblastoma brain cancer. We are undone by your love, prayers, and support. Keep storming heaven with us! We believe in signs and wonders. We believe in supernatural healings. God is good and he is crazy in love with Rusty...and so are we...and so are you. Thank you! --Adam, Mimi, Rylee Jean, and Rusty

Latest Journal Update

"I think it is time we can start dreaming again."

Rusty is incredibly amazing. Each day he seeks to change his new normal. It started with standing by himself. Walking a few steps by himself. Going to the bathroom by himself. Getting out of the bed by himself. his coat on by himself. Walking around the island in our kitchen by himself. He beams with pride with each new accomplishment. On Valentine's Day he asked me to take him to Red Robin on a date. He ordered a coke and fries. I had the red, white, and bleu. He asked me to tell him the story of when he was dying again. See, he doesn't remember it. He remembers who came to see him, but the memories end there. So I told him. “Rusty you were dying son. You didn't eat for 10 solid days. You would only sip blue cherry Gatorade to take your meds. You couldn't always control your bladder so we put you in pull-ups. You had high fevers. You had a stinkin seizure. Fear ripped my heart in two. Please don't ever do that again. You had no control over the left side of your body. You needed oxygen to help you breathe. Your lungs were gurgling. Your vitals were crap. You slept 23 hours a day. We bought a damn urn! It is pretty cool though. It's so you. We planned your celebration of life service. We decided on Edmond's and Evans Funeral Home. The service was going to be a Liberty Bible, where you and Jean Bean go to Springhill Day Camp. Uncle Fred and Aunt Andrea were going to do the music and Pastor Kyle would do the service. We said goodbye to you.”

“And here I am eating french-fries. And I am getting bath-a-tized tomorrow at church. And I plan to try and crawl up the stairs today. Just so you know.”

“Any other adventures I need to prepare for?”

He smiled and said, “I think it is time we can start dreaming again.”

And so we did. He wants to me to call State Park Little League and tell them that he can't run around all of the bases yet, but he should be able to by the time the season starts—can they please save a spot for him on a team? He wants me to call Dr. Lulla and see if he can travel to Florida for spring break. And I can't forget to ask if he can ride rides. If Dr. Lulla says he can fly he wants to go to New York for his 8th birthday in May to go to a Yankees game and then he wants to take a taxi to Hoboken and buy sister one of everything in Carlo’s Bakery. If Dr. Lulla says it is not a good idea to fly he would like to go to every Michigan State baseball game and a Tigers game. In fact, he has a book (thank you Mrs. Sweet) of every MLB baseball park. He would like to go to a game at all of them. And lastly, he would like to take his friend, Peyton O. on a Disney cruise to see all the characters as long as he doesn't have to dress up for formal night.

Do I dare dream? And the battle rages on. Part of my heart is full of light and hope. Part of my heart is dark and shattered because I still see evidence of his cancer. His right eye is permanently dilated from the pressure within his brain. At times it causes him discomfort and nausea. He asks for the egg (Young Living Essential Oils diffuser) with peppermint to help. His body temperature is abnormally low—chief indicator that something isn't right within the body. He still needs a ton of rest. And just feels crappy lots of the time.

But he is just so gosh darn inspiring. I can't help myself. I am dreaming. I am. Dream with us. In the words of the Russ Man, with Red Robin ketchup in both corners of his mouth “It is time you can start dreaming again.”

53 people hearted this



Micah Nicholson
By Micah
Yes, dream on. There's always hope, my friend. Hold fast to it. Never let it go. Love, love, love you all.
Janet Travick
My God ...!
1 person hearted this
Mandy Weaver
By Mandy Weaver
God is SOOO good!! My boys and I continue to pray and believe every day for total healing for Rusty.
1 person hearted this
JoEllen Hummel
By JoEllen K Hummel
Amazing! Simply Amazing! We are dreaming with you guys!
2 people hearted this
Jill Gehring
By Jill Gehring
Oh my gosh Mimi, this is so amazing to hear! You have raised such an amazing, AMAZING little man. I am dreaming with you and praying BIG prayers for you. NOTHING is impossible and what you are witnessing and we get to read about IS the impossible. I get so anxious to see you post a new story now, when just a few weeks ago I was nervous seeing a new post. Loving you and praying for you from a far!
1 person hearted this
Leah Gribble
By Leah Gribble — last edited
It's almost 2 in the morning and I have just finished reading every journal entry since this fight for your beautiful little man has begun, and as I read your latest entry I am brought to my knees thanking our Heavenly Father for letting you dream again! Mimi, I just wanted to tell you how absolutely amazing you are! You are a perfect example of how to love our babies with God's love! You are so real with your writing, I know it can't be easy but your honesty truely inspires me! I don't know you or Rusty, but please know The Gribbles are praying for your family daily and we too believe in the healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ!! Thank you so much for allowing me, a perfect stranger, to be a part of your lives and letting me know exactly how to pray for you all. Please let Rusty know that there are people in Arizona that love him and are with him in spirit and in prayer.
2 people hearted this
Donna Criner
Choosing to dream and always choosing HOPE.

He is truly God's miracle boy.

Love & Prayers,

Your NICK Family
1 person hearted this
Heather Ham
By Heather Ham
This is such great news. Made me smile. I am so happy for these special times that you get with your boy. The journey your family is going through is humbling and inspiring and we haven't even met. I heard about your story through the prayer chain at my church (Crossroads CRC). I have been praying for your whole family. Thank God for moments like these!!!!!!
1 person hearted this
Rob and Kate Perschon
By Rob, Kate, Drew, Ben Perschon
We will dream with you- dream BIG, Rusty!! XOXO The Perschons
1 person hearted this