ST. GEORGE — Ten-year-old Ryder Bundy of the Diamond Valley area of St. George was flown by air ambulance to Children’s Primary Hospital in Salt Lake City after a mass was found in his brain. There, the mass was identified as a cancerous brain tumor and it was removed during surgery.
When Ryder returned home to Diamond Valley Wednesday, he received a hero’s welcome. He was welcomed with a parade as people lined the streets to celebrate his return.
Ryder began experiencing headaches and migraines in the first week of April, but he had migraine issues in the past so the Bundys did not think much of it. A couple days later, he began to vomit and experience double vision. This is when the Bundys took Ryder in to see a physician’s assistant.
After hearing the symptoms Ryder had, the physician’s assistant told them to go straight to the emergency room. MRI scans followed and the mass was located in Ryder’s brain.
He went from playing baseball with his cousins one day to being airlifted to the hospital in Salt Lake City the next night.
Ryder arrived early on April 9 and he went into surgery that afternoon. The mass was removed and found to be cancerous. The mass is known as a medulloblastoma and while it is rare, it is the most commonly found brain tumor in children according to the Mayo Clinic.
After a hectic week for the family, they were referred to treatment in Seattle and Ryder was sent home.
“We have been referred to Seattle Children’s Hospital for what they call proton beam radiation,” Ryder’s mom Katie Bundy said. What Ryder was not expecting was the massive welcome parade he received back home.
“It was amazing,” Katie Bundy said. “We have two other daughters here at home and our oldest one helped coordinate it with some people in the area. His baseball team, his former baseball teams, he had so many people here. We drove up into the valley and you could see the cars lining the street. I would say there was probably a good two to three hundred people. Afterwards, when we got home he said, ‘I didn’t even realize that many people knew me.'”
People lined the streets with signs, balloons and more while the local fire truck came out to support as well. As the Bundys drove through on their way home, Ryder was standing out of the moonroof waving at everyone who had come out to support him. His mother said it was great to see everyone’s support given the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting next week, Ryder will go back to Salt Lake City for more testing before going to Seattle for six weeks of treatment starting around May 8. After a break in the therapy, he will have more rounds of chemotherapy in Salt Lake City.
“I know our journey is not over but just to know that we were only in the hospital for a week and we came home to that,” Katie said. “Knowing that we’ve got a journey ahead of us, it’s amazing to know that that many people are there to support.”
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