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Ryan’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge site! We want to share the amazing journey we are taking with you. Thank you for coming along!

Welcome to our CaringBridge site! We want to share the amazing journey we are taking with you. Thank you for coming along! On February 13, 2006, on his due date, a healthy baby boy was born to Stephanie and Erin Walker. He came home with us a few days later and continued to amaze us like any newborn to new parents would. On May 2nd, 2006, we thought Ryan was sick with the flu. In working overnight with our pediatrician, they thought he might be a little dehydrated so we should take him to Children's Hospital to get some IV fluids. Once we were there and they were administering the fluids, Ryan went into respiratory failure. He had pulmonary edema due to the fluid getting into his lungs as his body was retaining fluids. Within hours, we knew that he had renal failure. We went through every possible scenario that it had to be something else. The doctor's continued to share with us that it was not. We quickly moved to begin dialysis. Ryan's blood pressure was very difficult to control with medication. Over the next few days, it was determined that Ryan's kidney's would need to be removed so that we could better control the blood pressure. Because of the stresses his body had been through, we would not be able to remove the kidneys until May 17th. At that same time, they inserted a peritoneal dialysis catheter. About nine months later, peritoneal dialysis stopped working efficiently and a hemodialysis catheter was inserted and we spent the next four months doing hemodialysis three days a week for three hours at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. On June 18, 2007, Ryan received a new kidney from Stephanie. Since then he has been growing and getting stronger each and every day. As with any journey of this nature, we have our medical ups and downs but generally enjoy as normal life as life will allow.  Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, they are much needed and much appreciated!

Latest Journal Update

Five Year Transplant Anniversary

Five years ago today, Ryan's life was saved by his mom.  1827 precious days.  Most good, some bad, but they were ours to be had.  Words can not explain our immense gratitude to medical science and to the doctors and nurses at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for giving us these days.  Without their guidance, wisdom and patience we would not be here today.  In our darkest of days, I remember the doctors telling us "Ryan will be fine."  It was difficult to believe them, but five years later we know that they were right.

Ryan has grown into a active six year-old boy.  He plays baseball, soccer, karate and loves to swim.  If there is something to jump off of, he is the first in line.  He rides down the driveway on his Razor scooter without an ounce of fear.  He has more bruises on his legs from his adventures that we can count sometimes.  Unless you see the scars on his chest, you would never guess that five years ago today he was a barely twenty pound boy on dialysis.

The boy that would barely eat a piece of hulless popcorn after transplant, now eats almost everything.  He loves mexican and Chinese food and will try just about anything put in front of him.  I had a flashback moment to those days difficult eating days as I watched him slurp up lobster bisque that Stephanie ordered.  

Ryan recently completed kindergarten and is excited to start first grade in the fall.  It was great to see him mature and expand his knowledge this year.  He loves to read, draw and color.

Ryan and his younger brother Brady have become good friends.  Now ten months old, Brady thinks that Ryan is the funniest person in the world and Ryan loves having someone to perform for almost any time he wants.  We will hear them playing, then you will hear Brady break out in laughter.  As Brady becomes more mobile, we can only imagine the schemes that will be dreamt up.  We can't wait.

We just got back from our Make-A-Wish trip to Disney.  It was a fitting trip to celebrate his anniversary.  We had a fantastic time staying at the Give Kids The World village and visiting all the parks.  Most of the pictures we have uploaded are from our trip.  The trip brought back many tearful moments for Stephanie and I.  We realized how truly lucky we are and how brave Ryan has been.  I know that he doesn't fully understand everything that has happened to him, but we work everyday to let him know how amazing he is.

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement over the years and for taking this roller coaster journey with us.  Your kinds words and support have given us strength in the ways we can't express.

To our amazing family -   We know that you are always behind us.  Waiting to pick us up when we fall, step in when we are weary and encourage us when times get rough.  You have helped shape us into the family we have become and can't imagine this journey without each one of you.

And finally to Stephanie - for being an amazing mother, wife and best friend and for giving me these incredible 1827 days.

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these”
   - Susan B. Anthony