Family Keeps 3-Year-Old's Memory Alive by Donating Toys - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; |

Family Keeps 3-Year-Old's Memory Alive by Donating Toys to Sick Children

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Melina Matthes

OMAHA (KPTM)- After losing a child to cancer, one local family is collecting toys for other children who are going through a similar experience. 

"He was a light in my life that will never be extinguished and i miss him every single day," Robin Richards said.

Her nephew Ryder was just three years old when he passed away last Halloween.

"When most kids were trick or treating he was rocking with his mom taking his last breaths."

For nearly a year Ryder battled cancer.  And now the Richards' want to give back to those who tried to save him.  She says the staff at the Children's Hospital and Medical Center made Ryder feel at home.

"They not only made him a patient, but a person and a kid, which is the most important part for us.  They let him be a child during a time when all most people would see is a sick kid, they just saw a kid."

Robin is reminded of Ryder everywhere she goes but especially when she sees the umbrellas at the  hospital.

"There is no place in there that I can't look and go oh I wonder if Ryder stuck his hands in the water of the lobby.  I wonder if Ryder got to see those umbrellas light up in the front.  I wonder where he was when he smiled the first time in here."

 Beginning this year the Richards' family will annually collect toys for the Children's Hospital to make other kids feel normal too. 

 "They can use these toys as ‘here, I'm really sorry that you're about to get poked with this needle, but here I gave you a car' and then the kids are more okay with it you know, it's a good distraction."

 "Fun things help anyone relax so for children, toys and games are fun things so they learn it's not such a bad place, it's not the place you chose to be but we want to provide activities for them when they do have down time they can enjoy and have some fun."

"It isn't just for Ryder.  It isn't just for those kids.  It helps my family heal just as much as it gives them a chance to make a child stay better."

 A chance for this family-to turn their grief into good.  

There are specific guidelines on the Children's Hospital website that list exactly what they need.  If you would like to donate toys, you can drop them off at the Richards' home or mail them.  Their address is 12942 Lillian, Omaha, NE 68138



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