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Hello and Welcome

Hello and welcome to the Riley’s Army Blog. Just to give you a brief overview, we are a nonprofit and we take care of families with children battling pediatric cancer in North Carolina. We have an army of volunteers and supporters and we do everything from raising money for financial support to visiting and delivering meals to our hospitalized children. All of the money raised stays right here in NC and goes right back to our families with the exception of one paid employee and a little overhead.

Today, with his family’s blessing, I want to tell you a story about one of our warriors named Dylan. He is sixteen years old and he and his family are battling Ewing’s Sarcoma for the second time. His battle began at the tender age of 14. A time when most teens are carefree and loving life just like Dylan was until he and his family found themselves suddenly embroiled in a battle for his life. A battle they thought they had conquered until a few short weeks ago. It is a family disease because it affects everyone, Mom, Dad, brother and all who know and love them. Life as they knew it is gone and nothing will ever be the same. You see, you cannot step into the world of pediatric cancer, either by choice or by force and remain unchanged. You suddenly realize that what you once thought was a rare occurrence happens about 700 times each day worldwide. Cancer is the leading cause of death in kids under the age of 15 in the United States. Dylan wants everyone to know that the battle is real. He has just undergone his second major surgery to remove the cancer from his chest area and now his toe. In order to perform this surgery, the thoracic surgeon had to remove one of his ribs. Have you ever had a bruised or a cracked rib and remember how painful that alone can be? Add a major surgery, chemo and radiation on top of that.

From the moment he was first diagnosed, Dylan took it upon himself to comfort those around him who were struggling with the idea of him having cancer. Many times he has told his family “it will be okay, I can beat this”, or “It will be okay, I beat it once and I will do it again”. He always, always has a smile on his face and a kind word for others. He is quick to share a hug (something a lot of teenage boys are uncomfortable with) and a word of encouragement. He has many friends, a loving family and a strong faith. You cannot meet this kid and not walk away totally inspired and in love with him. He exudes kindness and compassion and he is determined to raise awareness and advocate for others. His entire family are just wonderful. He has a twelve year old younger brother who is just as sweet, loving and kind. He suffers in his own way in this battle as all siblings do. If you want to know more about this amazing family you can check out his Facebook page “Dylan’s Fight Against Cancer-Ewing’s Sarcoma. If you want to learn more about Riley’s Army, go to our website at www.rileysarmy.com or check out our Facebook page at Riley’s Army. There are countless opportunities to volunteer and support these families.