It's a call no parent ever expects. A call from the doctor that says your child has cancer. How that call strength a family's faith and their belief in the power of prayer.
It's about 11 in the morning at Tyler's Grace Community School. Freshman Patrick Rippy is about to head to biology. It's a much different path than Patrick walked just a year ago.
That's when doctors determined the then 14-year-old 8th grader had cancer.
"I really just hyper-ventilated for a few minutes," remembers Patrick's mother Suzie Rippy. "And just I just luckily was at my office and I have some great Christian friends and they somehow appeared and started praying with me and... I was stunned beyond words."
Doctors found a tumor the size of a small lemon, behind Patrick's ear and near the back of his jaw. It was a rapidly growing kind of cancer that primarily strikes children.
The Rippys learned the cancer was treatable, but the journey through chemo and radiation would be difficult for everyone. It would be a test for Patrick, his parents and their faith.
"I'm pretty much control-oriented and I realized fairly early on that I had absolutely no control over anything that was happening. And that was a big lesson for me to just let God be in control but there is only one way to go with it. Because you can't control anything you can't do anything about it but pray," says Suzie Rippy.
"I've always had a steady relationship with God. But yes this year was a lot more, a lot more prayer I think," says Patrick. "I had to ask for a lot of strength, mostly. And a... just kind of forgiveness sometimes for being real belligerent with people."
"You take care of them, you tell them what to do, you are in control of their lives," said Patrick's father Reed Rippy. "And when something like this happens its out of your control. And so I've come to the realization that God created Patrick just like He created me. And He's got a plan for my life and He's got a plan for Patrick's life. And once I came to that knowledge, that realization that God has a plan for Him and He's in charge it was a lot easier for me."
The Rippys credits prayer for providing the strength they needed to battle the cancer. Nearly 2000 silicone bracelets were made and given to family, friends and classmates with a verse from Phillipians 4... "Be anxious for nothing."
"People have looked at the bracelet and would pray for Patrick and pray for their own families. I think it was a...definitely the power of prayer that helped us through this, the support of prayer from our friends," said Suzie.
"It was very important I think that, I mean everybody needs friends. Whenever you have really good friends it counts, especially in times where you need somebody to be there," said Patrick Rippy.
About a year after that first diagnosis, doctors found no evidence of the disease in Patrick. He started back to school last month. A year long lesson for he and his family about faith and the power of prayer.
"That God is good. Definitely. That He heals, that He is going to comfort you in your time of need," said Patrick
Monday, July 21 2014 11:41 AM EDT2014-07-21 15:41:34 GMT
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