Written by Ryder’s parents, Devi and Matt
During a routine sonogram, we received news no parent wants to hear. We were informed 36 weeks into our pregnancy that our son, Ryder, and our pregnancy were in jeopardy. Panic and fear hit like a tidal wave. We threw what felt like our whole lives into our van and headed for Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. During that dark, rainy, and tearful journey a Ryder Truck pulled directly in front of us as we entered onto the highway. Our headlights hit the back of the truck and there we saw it, in big bold letters, “Ryder, Ever Better.” To most it was simply a truck but for us it was a beacon of Hope. That truck led us all the way into Baltimore, strengthening our hearts and calming our fears.
Two long & stressful days later on April 12, 2019, our beautiful son was born. A 2 ½ hour event led by 45 surgeons that can only be described as a miracle.
The days that followed would only become longer, louder, and most of all lonelier. Of the many challenges our family faced, one of the hardest was being split apart by rules and recovery. Our family that had been together from the moment of “I’m pregnant” to “Your wife and son made it,” were now only connected by isolated phone calls and visits every other day. The distance between us, although small, felt like it was growing. Each of us shouldered the weight of our responsibility, Mom with Avery at home and Dad at Ryder’s bedside. Although it was hard to feel lucky during this time, we felt it in the support we received from our family. They made it possible for our family to reunite. Nothing can bring you closer, back to center, and reset your heart and head like the embrace of the ones you Love.
On May 11 2019, Ryder Franklin Conley, was called back to heaven, leaving behind a legacy of Hope and Love.
To celebrate and honor Ryder, we have decided to give the present of Hope and Love back to those who are now in similar situations to what our family endured.
Families survive and thrive together. We know that at the end of a long day you need a hug, you need a shoulder, and you need someone to say, “I Love you.” The Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful organization that is focused on keeping families with sick children together and reducing their worries to where they need to be. They not only provide a home away from home by offering many free services such as rooms, meals, shuttle service to/from the hospital, and laundry but also many programs that make you feel Loved. A few examples are packed lunches to bring with you to the hospital, a personal mailbox that is filled daily with care, and toy animals are given to every child for comfort. These details are what make The Ronald McDonald House a safe and Loving place for families to reunite, recharge, and get ready to face whatever highs and lows they may encounter on their journey.
In addition to the $1,111.00 our family is donating, we are raising funds to purchase food, simple necessities, and other wish list items for The Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. On September 18, we will deliver the items to be donated in a Ryder truck. The same truck that gave us Hope at the beginning of our journey. The same truck that continues to fill us with Love every single time we see it on the road. We are not just filling the Ryder Truck with physical items, we are filling it with his legacy and everything he continues to stand for: Hope and Love.
We are inviting you to join us in delivering Hope and Love to families going through the most difficult time in their lives. Your donation, alongside ours, will have an impact. Your heart will be full. You will be helping us honor, celebrate, and give the best birthday gift ever to our sweet brave Warrior, Ryder.
Hope and Love,
Mom, Dad and Avery
If you know anyone who may be interested in supporting our efforts, please share this message with them. We cannot thank you enough for doing so.
You can make a donation directly to the drive and help Devi and Matt fill the truck with much needed items to support our families.