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Ronan's Cancer Fight & Dreams Fund

$90,950 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 600 people in 4 months
Created August 29, 2018
Karla Toner Rice
on behalf of Mark Smyth
In August 2018, our family received news that turned our world upside-down. My gentle, soft spoken, considerate, smart, athletic, 12 year old nephew was diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a terminal, inoperable brain tumour in the brain stem.  Ronan's life expectancy is measured in months now, but we hope to beat the average and make these months memorable for him and his family.  He will complete a round of radiation therapy, and that will hopefully shrink the tumour temporarily and gain some precious time.
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My name is Karla Rice, and I have set up this fundraiser for my sister Sarah Jane, her husband Mark, and their sons Ronan and Aidan.
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There are no words that can describe the complete and utter shock, grief and helplessness that Sarah Jane, Mark and their entire family felt when hearing this news. Knowing that their son, a sweet, kind boy with unlimited potential will never grow up is an unbearable thought.  His little brother Aidan will have to live his life without the support and love of his big brother.  They will never reach those milestones together that we assumed would be a part of their lives.  His grandparents, cousins, aunties, uncles, friends and countless others will forever be impacted by his life.
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The remaining time with Ronan is so very precious.  While he undergoes his radiation treatments, and we hope to hear of a new, promising treatment that might be discovered, we are trying to turn our focus on making his life be the absolute best it can be in the time we have left.  There is a lifetime of experiences and memories to create in a few short months, while also having to plan for the additional costs for his medical and at home care in the months to come.  
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So many people who know him, struggle with trying to figure out how they can help.  Most of us want to help Ronan fulfill his dreams and ensure not a single moment is wasted - to make Ronan's life as full, happy and comfortable as possible.  Sarah Jane and Mark’s colleagues, friends and extended family have been asking about a go fund me page.  The outpouring of support has been amazing, and Sarah Jane and Mark are so thankful for the thoughts, prayers and support for Ronan and their family.   This fundraiser will help them make a lifetime of memories for Ronan and their family, and to provide for him the help and care he needs in his battle with cancer.
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Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your support.

Karla
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Update 11
Posted by Karla Toner Rice
21 days ago
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As we try to live in the moment and make the most of each day, it seems time just keeps slipping away too quickly. With the amount of kindness and support from others, and his parents working so diligently to give him the best each day, he has had so many wonderful experiences – almost too many to document them all, because behind each one, are several very kind, thoughtful people who made them happen.
Ronan was able to have the Halloween Party he requested. Prior to Halloween, he first experienced Deadmonton and loved the face make up they did so much, that he requested they do it for his party too. Revolution Entertainment supplied a fantastic DJ and photo booth. (Would highly recommend this company!) He had the coolest experience going to the Drake concert in a limo, with amazing seats and meeting Drake backstage. Misty and her team at The Foundry created an opportunity for some Nerf fun for him and a group of friends. A family friend was able to arrange for “driving a tank” to be crossed off the bucket list. Back in Line Chiropractic has brought him tremendous comfort through massage. Since he had a deep appreciation for the relaxation it brings, he was a regular visitor there and got to know Chasity. Chasity also organized a few hours of drifting at Castrol Raceway. A hot tub in the back yard is something that Ronan has always wanted, but now it has become a way to sooth his muscles and help the family to unplug. Some very close friends even surprised them with twinkling lights on the deck to enjoy while relaxing under the stars. Manoj Gupta, a new friend he met on this DIPG journey, called upon his friends (raceforthecure.ca), and together they surprised Ronan with the most amazing collection of cars all in one place. A quick trip to Disney was made in December which they are so grateful to have been able to do. Travelling at this point is difficult for Ronan as he doesn’t have the same level of physical stamina.
It seems that more than ever, he has been feeling the support of his hockey world, through their generosity, events such as the pink at the rink game, and even through Instagram….
Prior to his diagnosis, Ronan was a passionate goalie who played for the Northeast Eagles. He was looking forward to attending hockey camps in August, and preparing for a new season. Unfortunately, his symptoms progressed so quickly that he never did get to go to camp or play hockey again. Even with his balance deteriorating, he was determined to get on the ice so his family arranged for a private on ice session in August. That was his last skate. He misses time spent competing on the ice and hanging out with teammates in the dressing room.
While he can’t play the sports he loves so much, he has felt the kindness and generosity of others like never before. Here are just a few of the special sports related things people have done to show support:
- He was able to spend time with Carey Price when the Canadiens were in Edmonton.
- He did the coin flip at the Eskimos game after attending their practice.
- Went to an Oilers practice, some of their games, and got to meet Cam Talbot.
- The Make a Wish foundation sent him to England to see an NFL game.
We will always be grateful to the people who thought to organize such opportunities and worked hard to make them a reality.
Currently, Ronan’s medication and treatments make it difficult for him to do so many things. His energy is low, his body isn’t the same, he needs to wear an eye patch, his balance is off, his muscles are sore and weak, and watching these changes all unfold is very difficult for him and our family.
When we see people wearing his sticker on the ice, we feel like a little bit of Ronan is on the ice. The sticker means that people are hearing his story and acknowledging his struggle. The sticker also reminds us that life can be short and we need to live in the moment. How would you play your next game if you knew it was going to be your last time on ice?
And finally, Ronan decided one day to seeing how many followers he could get on Instagram. It started with a challenge to see if he could get from 300 to 400 followers. Well as the number climbed, so did his excitement. We didn’t expect it to continue so quickly, but now that he has reached over 1000 followers (1282 so far), he is so delighted. Feel free to follow him at ronan_smitty, and know that every time the number rises, he smiles a little yet again.
The videos that are included in this update were made with the help of my husband, but we wanted to give a shout out to Cadden and Bell Productions. They have volunteered their time to capture several of these special moments on video for our family. We hope to share some of their amazing work with you a little later.
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Update 10
Posted by Karla Toner Rice
2 months ago
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Update 10: Las Vegas (September 21,22,23)

With the early snow and the approval from doctors to travel, it seemed like the right time to check Vegas off the wish list.

Ronan had heard about Vegas from close friends who had vacationed there as a family. He loved the idea of shopping, warmth, cool shows, bright lights and tasty food. He was not disappointed. Special thanks to dear friends, and a very kind lady, for gifting them with awesome tickets to see the Jabbawockeez and the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show. Ronan reported that both shows were amazing.
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Update 9
Posted by Karla Toner Rice
2 months ago
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The boys got movies and root-beer! The Grandmothers, Aunties, Ronan, and his cousin got dessert and coffee. Aunty Jen worked with Confections Cake Co. in St Albert to have a cinnamon bun baking lesson. We arrived and were treated by the most beautiful and unique space filled with public art and rustic wooden decor. The owners of the small dessert shop had a special package waiting for Ronan; his own personalized chef jacket and hat, box seats to an oil kings game, movie certificates for the family and, passes for the Rec room. We had a blast weighing, mixing, rolling and baking. But what we excelled most in was sampling the deserts and drinks. Ronan and his cousin Lucas share a sweet tooth and were in heaven with the cakes, macaroons, and cheesecake we all shared. We all took home the most delicious cinnamon buns. It was a fun relaxing afternoon where we were able to visit and making sweet memories.
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Update 8
Posted by Karla Toner Rice
3 months ago
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Update 8: Edmonton Police Service (Sept. 6, Sept 13, Sept. 19)

When Ronan’s Auntie Julianne joined the Edmonton Police Service in (2012) it was explained that she was not just starting a new career, but had joined a new family. In these hard times, we have discovered what that means. We have discovered what compassionate and caring colleagues she works with. Their generosity has been amazing. In addition to financial support, Ronan has been able to spend some time with different units of the EPS to learn about the service and the incredible work they do.

His first opportunity was with the Tactical Unit. The boys were fascinated with all of the equipment and robots. They have determined that although their video games have them running around with sniper rifles, now that they have see the real thing, these games are crazy. You can’t run with weapons of that size! A highlight was getting to ride in the armoured vehicle “The Bat”.

A trip to the K-9 unit was next. We met Cst. Croxford and PSD Bender. We got to see where and how the dogs train. Bender wowed us with his tricks and slobbery kisses. He loves to play catch and boy can he run fast!

The third trip out with EPS was to check out the Air 1 Police Helicopter. Sgt. Barbar and the Air One Team gave Ronan a tour of the hanger and allowed him to sit in the helicopter. It was super cool to see how the cameras work and learn about how easily the officers can see things from the sky.

A special shout out to Cst. Plesa – thank you for taking the lead in organizing all of these opportunities. The memories from those days will always be treasured. (BTW - the tactical patches have already been sewn onto vests and worn during the nerf battle with his friends.)

The support and time given to Ronan from all the members of Edmonton Police Service goes above and beyond what anyone would ever expect. Our family cannot thank you enough for the kindness you have shown.
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$90,950 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 600 people in 4 months
Created August 29, 2018
Karla Toner Rice
on behalf of Mark Smyth
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