RYAN KENNEDY: The Cancer-Stricken Nine Year-Old Who Is Choosing To Die


Cancer patient Ryan Kennedy, 9, is tired of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and has made the very adult decision to live out his final days in peace, not in an operating room. When surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy fail to stop cancer, some patients decide to stop treatment, and focus on making the most of the time they have left. “But what happens when a child, your 9-year-old son, looks up at you and says, ‘I’m done’ fighting cancer?” asks Carolyn Castiglia at Babble. The parents of Ryan Kennedy, a Michigan boy who is a week from his 10th birthday, had to confront just such a devastating moment. Ryan has battled seven surgeries, two rounds of radiation and four different kinds of chemo since he was diagnosed with ependymoma at the age of four. ‘When I told him about it, he said “No! I told you Mom, I don’t want to do anything anymore.” He literally just screamed and cried, in hysterics, saying, “I’m done. I’m done with this,”‘ his mother Kimberly Morris-Karp told the Oakland Press. ‘He just decided he didn’t want to take any more pills [and] he didn’t want any more surgery because it hurt,’ she added to CNN. ‘He just wanted to live the rest of his life.’ Ryan’s inspirational story has spurred an outpouring of love from everyone from Britney Spears to Kim Kardashian after his peers at Clarkston’s North Sashabaw Elementary School said it was his dying wish to trend on Twitter. Morris-Karp told how her son had been touched by the support – even though he did not know the social media site existed. ‘Ryan really wasn’t the one who wanted to trend on Twitter – he’s nine – he doesn’t have a twitter account. He really didn’t even know what Twitter was,’ she told CNN. But Ryan cried when he saw Britney Spears’ tweet. ‘You know, Mommy, this really touches my heart, that so many people are out there Tweeting, and caring about me,’ he told his mother, according to the Oakland Press. His mother said his dying wish is to raise funds and awareness about brain cancer so more research into the deadly disease can be conducted. ‘Ryan is doing pretty good at this point. He is holding his own, he’s sleeping most of the time but he has very cognitive, clear moments at times where he communicates very well with us,’ Morris-Karp said. ‘But he’s just hanging in there.’

Cancer begins in the cells, which are the building blocks of your body. Normally, new cells form as you need them, replacing old cells that die. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when you don’t need them, and old cells don’t die when they should. The extra cells can form a tumor. Benign tumors aren’t cancer while malignant ones are. Malignant tumor cells can invade nearby tissues or break away and spread to other parts of the body. Children can get cancer in the same parts of the body as adults, but there are differences. Childhood cancers can occur suddenly, without early symptoms, and have a high rate of cure. The most common children’s cancer is leukemia. Other cancers that affect children include brain tumors, lymphoma, and soft tissue sarcoma. Symptoms and treatment depend on the cancer type and how advanced it is. Treatment may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy.