When a Child with Cancer Decides He's Ready to Die

Ryan Kennedy, #ryankennedy, boy with brain cancer, children with cancer, kids cancer
Ryan Kennedy, center, with his siblings.

I’ve got several friends who have lost loved ones to cancer, and I’ve heard stories of the patient deciding that after so many treatments they just wouldn’t undergo one more, leaving them resigned to the fate of their illness. I lost my dad to cancer, and one of the reasons I think he died so immediately after his diagnosis is because he didn’t want to have to undergo treatment at all. But what happens when a child, your 9-year-old son, looks up at you and says, “I’m done” fighting cancer?

If you’re Kimberly Morris-Karp, you respect your son Ryan’s decision and let him live out his last days in peace.

Ryan has been fighting brain cancer since he was 3, and has had multiple surgeries to remove the tumor at the base of his brain. The last one paralyzed the right side of his face, which is when Ryan decided he’d had enough. Recently, Ryan became a trending topic on Twitter, after a family friend asked users to pray for him. Ryan’s mother asked her son to pray right back. Take a look:

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According to ABC News, “Each year, about 50,000 children in the United States die from life-threatening illnesses. A 2004 Swedish study found that, out of 300 families who had children who died from terminal illness, about 35 percent of them discussed the pending deaths with them. The survey showed not one family regretted it.” Ryan’s mother told CNN she plans to “rub his feet” and help him with whatever he needs as he begins the end. ABC says, “Doctors say Ryan will not likely make it to his 10th birthday on May 24.”

Photo via ABC News

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