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NEWS STORIES

After beating cancer, 12-year-old & family give back to Ronald McDonald HouseSubmitted: 08/16/2013
Adam Fox
10 p.m. Anchor/Reporter
afox@wjfw.com

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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