Ryland Lampert's spirit holds up to challenge of cancer

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MICHAEL SCHOENHOLTZ - Courageous Ryan Lampert gets a big hug from his parents, Cam and Jenn Lampert. The 6-year-old is a Community Hero for 2013.When Ryland Lampert heard that he had been named a Community Hero for 2013, he asked his mother, “You mean like a real hero?”

When it comes to heroes, Ryland is as real as it gets. In fact, the 6-year-old West Linn boy has been a hero almost his entire life. In 2008, at the age of 14 months, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Seven months ago the Lampert family found that Ryland had suffered a relapse, and he has been undergoing heavy therapy ever since.

“He has done amazing,” said Jenn Lampert, Ryland’s mother. “That’s the reason he was nominated as a hero. He is very courageous. Every two or three weeks he has to go to the hospital, so it has been a long year.”

However, when Ryland is around, time passes faster for everybody. At the hospital he runs around making sure others are OK. He delivers their mail from a little cart, and he draws pictures for everyone. He is always smiling, giggling, having fun with his two brothers, Caden and Blake, and is a big man on campus at his elementary school, where his classmates cheer and yell, “Ryland’s here!” He is also a budding author and working on his first book, called “How to Trap an Elf!”

“Ryland is a very strong little boy,” Jenn Lampert said. “He has handled this challenge far better than his parents have.”

Ryland is just the kind of kid that the Children’s Cancer Association created its Community Heroes awards for — children showing “exceptional courage, wisdom and grace in the face of serious medical challenges.” On May 22 he was among the 24 heroes honored at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. He was honored with his portrait and story on the Wall of Heroes, which will be on display for the next year as it becomes a traveling exhibition that will inspire people throughout the state.

Ryland got something to take home to West Linn, too. Something that is common for real heroes to receive: a medal.

“He wore that medal to bed,” said Jenn Lampert. “He wants to wear it everywhere. It’s incredible!”

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