After beating cancer, 12-year-old & family give back to Ronald McDonald HouseSubmitted: 08/16/2013
Story By Adam Fox

TOMAHAWK - Cancer wreaks havoc on a person's body. Even treatment causes you to lose hair and energy.

It's a time when people need help. It's something one Tomahawk family knows all too well.

These days it's all about snowmobiles for 12-year-old Tucker Van Ryen and his family.

They travel the Northwoods racing snowmobile circuits. His dad Terry Van Ryen thought it could help the family.

"I said boy that's something that would be neat to do with the kids on a weekend in the winter." Terry said.

But a decade ago the Van Ryen family's focus was on two-year-old Tucker's battle with cancer. His dad remembers the tough times.

"The bad days were when we couldn't get out of that hospital," Terry said. "You had to stay in the ward, you had to stay in your unit, and you had very little area."

On good days, the family could escape and stay together at the Ronald McDonald house in Madison.

"It was like staying at a hotel," Terry said. "It's a night away from where you are spending a lot of time."

Ten years later, Tucker is cancer free. Kerri Burns takes care of Tucker and still fears the worst every time he gets sick.

"In the back of your mind your always thinking, oh is it back?" Burns said.

But it hasn't come back. And the family knows how far Tucker has come.

"To see him be able to do the things that he can do on a daily basis is wonderful," Burns said.

That's why the family wants to return the favor to the Ronald McDonald house. They're hauling a trailer full of sleds to Madison for the kids to play with. The family has a plan.

"To show the kids who the champions are," Burns said. "They are the ones who are battling and fighting with cancer every day."

A fight, the Van Ryen's know can be made just a little bit easier by the kindness of others.

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WAUSAU - Enthusiasm, excitement and surprises continue to pack the 2016 election season.

 Republican politicians in Wisconsin still have something to add to this election.  

On Sunday Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ron Johnson and Representative Sean Duffy all stopped by the Wisconsin GOP office. 

They came together to encourage voters to get out and vote early. 

About 30 people came out to hear what the politicians had to say.

"We need to convince people who maybe we don't know where their opinions are in terms of election," said Governor Walker.

 "But we work with them, we live next to them, we go to church with them those are the people we need to reach out [to]."

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RHINELANDER - With a little over two weeks before the presidential election, local officials continue to campaign for their pick for President of the United States.

Wisconsin's former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton visited Rhinelander Saturday to show her support for Hillary Clinton.

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On Saturday firefighters from around the Northwoods came together as one. 
"It's vital to have that community bond between the fire departments," said Arbor Vitae Fire and Rescue Chief Mike VanMeter.

The bond between local departments led to a rare training opportunity. 

"Being able to share an opportunity like this is vital," said Boulder Junction Fire Department Chief Matthew Reuss. 

A donated house in Boulder Junction was lit on fire so that the fire departments could practice structure training.  

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On Saturday nearly 600 volunteers from the Northwoods decided to help feed some of those children. 

The "Food for Kidz" organization, invited people to Lakeland Union High School, to help package non- perishable goods.

 The packages will be donated worldwide and to nearby food pantries.

Within the past eight years volunteers have packaged one million meals.

 Last year was the first year the organization started donating to local food pantries. 

This year volunteers will give 30,000 meals to the Northwoods community.

"It's just the recurring exuberance of the people that come in and do the packing we have many, repeat people that come year after year," said "Food for Kidz" Co-chairman John Breiten. 

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Saturday, local officials helped people properly dispose of those unwanted medicines as part of Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

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RHINELANDER - A simple grooming process many people take for granted helps keeps John honest with himself.

"You can't think too far ahead, at least that's the situation I find myself in," John said.

Convicted of drunk driving seven times, John -- who Newswatch 12 is only identifying by his first name -- faced a harsh reality when he ended up in prison after three arrests in just 13 months.

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WAUSAU - People often leave unused prescriptions in their cabinets at home. But Wisconsin's Attorney General hopes you turn those prescriptions in Saturday to help solve a growing problem.

October 22 is Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said more people die from accidental drug overdoses in Wisconsin than from car crashes.

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