A Christmas Wish For A Young Cancer Patient - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/19/06 - Tyler

A Christmas Wish For A Young Cancer Patient

A diagnosis of cancer is never easy for a family to hear, especially around the holidays. It was exactly a year ago when an East Texas teenager heard those words. His name is Patrick Rippy. He's just been chosen as an ambassador for the Smith County American Cancer Society Cattle Barons' Gala. Through out this next year, KLTV is going to follow Patrick's progress, beginning with this report as his family prays for a special gift this holiday.

It was December 2005. Reed and Suzie Rippy of Tyler were getting ready for the holidays. At the time, their 13 year old son Patrick was bothered by, what he thought was, an ear infection. Tests would later reveal a tumor at the back of his throat behind his right ear.

"It's something you never expect to hear." Suzie goes on to say, "When I first got the news it was about two minutes of hysteria to be honest and not being able to breath."

"After you get over the initial shock of it and the numbness goes away, you start dealing with it. That's all you can do," says Reed.

42 weeks of treatments would follow; involving both chemotherapy and radiation. While waiting at the Tyler Cancer Center for a treatment Patrick tells us, "Right now, I'm a little bit nervous just because I've always been uneasy about needles. The fact of having one of those needles in the chest every time is not very comforting."

Patrick has spent the past year going between doctor appointments in Houston and Tyler. "This past year has been a journey for all of us. It was very difficult to watch him change physically," says Suzie.

"Patrick really handled it very well. He showed a lot of maturity. He had his moments but for the most part he handled it better than mom and dad did," explains Reed.

Patrick says he relied on his faith. "Patrick said to me, 'Well, this is just part of God's plan and we're just going to trust that God's in control of this,'" says Suzie.

Because of the effects of the treatment, Patrick is missing his first year of high school at Grace Community, but misses his friends most. "I'm very thankful for the people that I know at my school. My school has been very supportive and sends my work home and my tests."

Last month, brought Patrick's last treatment. "The hair, I am very excited about because every day it's just kind of a little bit, you can just feel it a little bit more. Yes, I'm going to grow it out as long as possible," says Patrick rubbing his bald head.

This 14 year old has kept a sense of humor throughout the treatments. He gives a lot of credit for that to his family. "My family has very much encouraged me during this time. They've just kind of kept me strong when I thought I couldn't handle it and been very loving and supportive."

Two weeks ago, as the Rippy's prepared for another holiday, it was time to find out if Patrick's treatments were successful. The test showed, no cancer detected!

"I was very relieved." Patrick adds, "Last year this kind of all started and now it's over and so now it's kind of come full circle."

"I think its had to sink into me the past couple weeks that we're back to the real world," said Suzie.

Reed says, "You know, it's been an answer to prayer from people we know and people we don't. It's been a good holiday gift."

A gift that won't fit under the tree, but one that will be shared by the entire Rippy family.

Patrick wants to thank the American Cancer Society for their support this past year and remind people about an upcoming benefit. Its East Texas' first New Year's Eve Ball, December 31st, at the Ornelas Activity Center in Tyler. The event starts at 7 p-m. Tickets are $50 and all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. For tickets call 903-509-4703.

KLTV is giving away free tickets to the event. Five lucky people will win a set of 4 tickets each. To enter, go to our home page and click on "know more on 7" then click on the link titled "kltv new year's ball ticket give away." The winners will be announced during our 6 p-m news December 22nd.

Or, to make a donation to the American Cancer Society, email Gillian Sheridan at gsheridan@kltv.com.

Gillian Sheridan reporting.

Powered by Frankly