Meet our young warriors

Meet Rhyker – Leukemia Warrior

"Since being diagnosed with ALL, Rhyker has shown undeniable superhero-like strength,” said Rhyker's mom.

Two year-old Rhyker was like many kids his age – he loved playing with his toys and especially loved playing tag with his older brother, Rhyson. One day while they were playing a game of tag, their mother, Christine, felt his head and thought he was very warm. She took Rhyker’s temperature and he was running a fever. Days passed and while Rhyker was still his playful self, Christine grew more concerned because his fever was not breaking. When Rhyker suddenly had difficulties walking, Christine rushed him to the pediatrician. The doctor said he was suffering from a fractured foot – most likely from playing with his brother – and put him in a cast. Christine’s “mother’s intuition” told her something else was going on since her son had a fever for twelve days straight and decided to take him to the emergency room. It was Thanksgiving Day, and instead of spending it surrounded by family and friends, Christine and Rhyker were surrounded by doctors who broke the devastating news… Rhyker had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Christine’s mind raced as she processed all of this. Not only was her sweet baby boy diagnosed with a horrible disease, she now had to figure out how she would manage caring for her family while Rhyker went through treatment. The hospital was nearly 200 miles away and she knew that travel expenses would be overwhelming since he needed to be in the hospital for nearly three months. She reached out to the NCCS where a friendly case manager was ready to help. The organization provided Christine travel assistance so Rhyker received the treatment he needed to beat his disease.

Chemotherapy was very hard on Rhyker’s little body and he experienced many complications. He broke his hip while wrestling with Rhyson because the chemotherapy made his bones “paper thin.” He is still seen once a week for treatment. “Since being diagnosed with ALL, Rhyker has shown undeniable superhero-like strength. We lovingly call him ‘Baby Hulk,’” said Christine. Sweet Rhyker still has three years of treatment ahead of him, but his scans continue to improve at every appointment.