This toddler was blinded after a massive cancerous tumor was discovered in his brain, and then treated with chemotherapy. The young boy has since had to learn how to walk, talk and to eat all over again.
At just 18 months old, Ryder Fox from Melbourne, Australia developed cancer in his brain last June, and underwent surgery, which was able to remove a third of the tumor. Ryder’s mom Samantha Farrugia, shared that it was a frightening experience to see her little son’s brain scans and his struggle during the 8-hour operation.
“We thought he wasn’t going to make it,” she told the Daily Mail Australia. “I was asking the doctors when I should prepare myself to buy a coffin.”
Since then, the boy has gone through months of grueling chemo in order to kill the cancerous growth, undergoing treatment sessions every 3 weeks. While doctors didn’t know if the chemo would kill the tumor, the treatment has taken its toll on the boy’s health. It left him blind, infertile and caused other negative side-effects.
After learning about her son’s blindness, his mother felt defeated; as though she wanted to die. She had to go on living however, in order to take care of her son and her new born daughter Zaria.
“I didn’t want to live. I was thinking he would forget what I looked like, he would never know what his sister looked like, wouldn’t be able to drive. It broke me.”
A brain scan after treatment revealed that the tumor had become smaller.
His mother stayed by his side throughout the next five months in the hospital. Meanwhile, he had to learn how to walk, talk and eat all over again. His father, Stephen Fox, and sister joined the boy and his mother living in the hospital for two months as well.
Tragically, the family’s home was broken into and ransacked while they were away. Their car was also stolen and later found torched.
Fortunately in January, a brain scan revealed that the tumor had become smaller; yet the chemo treatment seemed to just barely keep up as the cancer grew back.
“My son will never live a normal life, and when he grows up he won’t be able to have kids,” said his mother. “When he is home he is amazing, always happy, he has an amazing smile that hardly leaves his face. But the chemo has deteriorated his body.”
The boy’s vision has recovered in one eye however; although doctors are still not sure to what extent his sight will be impaired or how the tumor will affect the rest of his life.
Samantha’s fiancé Stephen Fox has showed his support for the fight against cancer by shaving his head and beard. He has also been Samantha’s greatest comforter during the ordeal.
“He was and still is my rock. He always lifts me when my hopes are down,” Farrugia said.
Family, friends as well as strangers have also lent a helping hand to the family by raising over $9,000 on GoFundMe. “I can’t wait for this journey to come to end,” she said. “Unfortunately this is our life. Ryder is the strongest person I know.”
Amazingly, this little trooper is a happy boy in spite of all his hardship, but he is the happiest—giggling and cuddling his sister—when he is at home.