Ryan was a typical, active little guy living a normal life with his parents and two older sisters. At the age of five, when entering Kindergarten, life changed for Ryan and his family. Ryan was diagnosed with Medulla Blastoma (pediatric brain cancer).
Ryan, now 11, has demonstrated incredible determination and strength throughout his fight against cancer. He came to school every day except when he was at the hospital for treatment. Ready to take on the challenges of the day, he was always happy and greeted everyone with his cheerful smile. Once Ryan entered third grade, he attended school for partial days due to endurance. In December 2009, Ryan's health unfortunately began to decline and attending school was no longer possible. However, Ryan has defied all medical odds and has been supported by his loving family throughout. His dad has been at his side since his diagnosis and his mom recently took a family leave from her job to care for Ryan around the clock.
Many have helped family during this difficult time through a variety of fundraising events. A pasta dinner was held at the school and the whole community pitched in to make the night a huge success. The staff from the school prepares meals two or three times a week as their way of helping the family. For the month of October, a pumpkin was kept at the front desk and students would fill it with money from their piggy banks or allowance. It was amazing to see the generosity and caring by these students.
The 99 Restaurant in Foxboro hosted fundraisers two years in a row to help the family through the holiday season. Sadly, Ryan was hospitalized and unable to attend the second one. However, it was a huge success thanks, in part, to the appearance of Joe Andruzzi, who signed autographs, addressed attendees and mingled with Ryan's classmates. Joe truly took a heartfelt interest in Ryan's family and that night was the just the beginning of Joes' efforts to help this family.
After the event one of Ryan’s teachers, Janet Meeker, contacted the Joe Andruzzi Foundation to ask if Joe would visit the family personally and, of course, he did. In the spirit of helping other families battling cancer, Joe also worked with Bob’s Discount Furniture to get new bedroom furniture for Ryan’s parents and sister. After the furniture arrived, Joe contacted Michelle Almeida, The Room Makeover Queen, to put the finishing touches on the bedrooms. The Hayes family is very grateful to Joe and the kindness everyone has shown through Ryan's difficult battle with cancer.
“Everybody can make a difference in a small way. It really doesn’t take a lot,” said Janet Meeker. “Say a prayer for Ryan and his family. Pray for all the families that have loved ones battling cancer and for those who have lost their fight.”