Rites Saturday for Sperry boy, 6, who fought cancer
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
3/20/13 at 3:34 AM
SPERRY - He had his eye-mask, his toy nunchuks and now, a super-cool nickname.
Ryder Herring - aka "Ryder-angelo" - was ready to take on the bad guys.
"He loved all the Ninja Turtles, but Michelangelo was his favorite," his grandmother, Shirley Simmons, said, adding that family members gave him the nickname.
Pretending to be the comic-book hero was one of his favorite pastimes.
But as Ryder knew well, there are things in life that no shell, real or imaginary, can protect you from.
Two years ago, when he was just 4, the Sperry resident was diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, a deadly type of brain cancer.
As his family faced the ominous news and began looking at options, they didn't know what the future held.
But one thing was certain: They were going to need a lot of other superheroes to step up.
Ryder Jack Herring, who inspired a community to stand with him in his fight against one of life's very real villains, died Thursday. He was 6.
A service is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Skiatook under the direction of Collinsville-Dolton Funeral Home.
From the beginning, through various fundraisers, media attention, a "Save Ryder" Facebook page, and a loyal group of supporters called Ryder's Army, the community rallied behind Ryder and his family.
The efforts helped raise money for his medical needs, and between various benefits, he was able to enjoy a lot of experiences, such as riding on firetrucks, planes, trains and boats.
Best of all, for his Make-A-Wish trip in July, he got to go to Disney World.
"It's been an amazing journey," Simmons said, adding that wherever he happened to be, Ryder made an impression.
"He had these beautiful blue, sparkly eyes, and he collected girls everywhere," she said. "We couldn't go anywhere that, within minutes, he wasn't up in some strange girl's lap. He had them wrapped around his finger."
And through their contact with Ryder, family members say, a lot of people are paying more attention to childhood cancer.
"God's purpose in his life was to bring awareness to childhood cancer," Simmons said. "It's given us a mission: to raise more dollars to fund research.
"This is not the end of it," she added. "These kids don't have voices. Somebody has to stand up for them and say, 'Hey.' "
With so many people standing up for Ryder, he was able to enjoy just being a little boy.
Besides his Ninja Turtles, he also liked pretending to be Transformers and even a dragon, running around in his "How to Train Your Dragon" pajamas with wings in the back.
Simmons thinks her grandson's imaginary flights were "his way of coping. And when people found out about the things he liked, they brought toys - toys upon toys. People have been so generous."
Ryder's survivors include his parents, Elly Patterson and Judson Herring; a brother, Keaton Schwartz; and his grandparents, Shirley and Doug Simmons, Mike Patterson, Jimmy Herring and Donna Butler.
Friends are contributing to CureSearch-Team Ryder in care of Exchange Bank locations in Sperry, Skiatook and Owasso.
Original Print Headline: Boy's life was filled with superheroes
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Ryder Herring: "He loved all the Ninja Turtles, but Michelangelo was his favorite," his grandmother, Shirley Simmons, said, adding that family members gave him the nickname. Pretending to be the comic-book hero was one of his favorite pastimes