For a child, his birthday is perhaps one of the most exciting days of the year. This is the day they get cake, gifts, and all the attention in the world.
This little boy celebrated his birthday in a similar way, but what happened the next day has left his family devastated forever…
Jenna Henn Knechtle and Tobias Knechtle lived what seemed like a fairy tale life in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. The family had three adorable little boys who were adored by the parents.
The Channing, Bentley and Ryder children were incredibly close with their parents and with each other. The family of five would always stick together and have as much fun as they wanted.
The youngest son was Ryder, who came into his life on September 21, 2016. The family adored their youngest member, who was incredibly close to his older brothers.
The boy was alive and happy. He loved superheroes and would often dress up as them because he was determined to save the world from bad guys and be a hero.
Aside from his siblings, he also loved playing with the family pet named Sadie Mae. The boy was often pampered by his loved ones and also had a wonderful sense of humor.
Apparently, the family had a perfect life until 2020, when Ryder was three years old and his parents began to notice some problems that he was having. Ryder was having trouble with his vision, which worried his parents, who immediately sought medical attention.
It was then that life took a turn for the Knechtle family. They discovered that Ryder had a brain tumor in his brainstem. The tumor was a cancerous diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma that was terminal.
That’s when the family knew they had little time left with their ray of sunshine and decided to make the most of what little time they had with him. As the family continued his treatment, they also decided to make each day spent with their son special.
They didn’t tell their older children the extent of their little brother’s condition because they wanted them to enjoy time with their brother without worrying too much.
The parents also created a Facebook page called “Rally for Ryder,” sharing updates on Ryder’s health so everyone would know how he was doing. On September 15, 2022, the family shared heartbreaking news.
Her mother, Jenna, wrote the update that talked about the latest MRI done on her son. The update read: “Our hearts are beyond repair and completely shattered. We have no idea how we will ever pick up the pieces.”
The heartbroken mother wrote how she hoped her little boy would defy the odds. “I always hoped that Ryder would be the chosen one. The miracle! And she showed a lot of promise early on.”
She said that she found comfort in the fact that her child would be in heaven and they would eventually be reunited one day. She wrote: “I would give absolutely anything to hear his voice one last time. Feeling a Ryder juicer around my neck. To see him play with his brothers. To hear him say “I love you mom.” To play just one more game of Uno. The things you take for granted every day are sadder when they’re lost.”
On September 20, the mother of three updated the page talking about how her little one was now slowing down and that it was heartbreaking to watch. She also noted how difficult it was for her and her husband to stay strong for her other children.
The little boy was placed in hospice care, where Jenna said she was taking very good care of him. The family showered her little one with even more attention and affection. Jenna noted how difficult the whole situation was, saying, “We want him in peace, but we can’t imagine a day without him. It’s a horrible feeling.”
When it came time for Ryder’s sixth birthday, her family was determined that he would be special, knowing that he only had days to live. When he woke up on the morning of his birthday, he played with his siblings, read his favorite book, watched his favorite show “Peppa Pig” and baked a delicious birthday cake.
But the little boy soon began to feel different, and when hospice staff checked on him, they told the family that he didn’t have much time left.
After spending his birthday with his loved ones doing all the things he loved to do, little Ryder passed away peacefully. He passed away on September 22 and his mother posted about his death the next day. She wrote: “My beautiful baby is now an angel. We think Ryder held on to his 6th birthday because he passed away the next day! I don’t think it was a coincidence at all. He wanted those gifts, cake and fireworks! I’m so glad we got to do that for him!”
After his parents shared the news of his death, supporters expressed their condolences, with Jennifer Capone writing, “I know how he will feel today and for the rest of his parents’ lives. It’s so unfair.”
Local police, where Ryder was appointed a special police officer in June this year by Mayor George Holmes, also wrote of his anguish following news of the boy’s death.
The boy’s funeral is planned for Wednesday, September 28, 2022. His family is asking people to donate to Elle’s Angels, a foundation dedicated to finding a cure for DIPG in memory of their boy and to honor him. .
The Knechtles were grateful for all the support they had received over the last three years. The GoFundMe page they had created for their young son picked up steam again, reaching nearly $99,000 of their original goal of $100,000.
This young family is really going through an incredibly difficult time. We send you love and good wishes to get you through this difficult time.
Share Ryder’s story so that more people can learn about the life of this brave boy and how he fought until the end.