KANSAS, OH (WTOL) - It's difficult for any parent to see their child fall ill. For most kids, it's a normal part of childhood and they bounce back quickly. But for one Kansas, Ohio, family, what first appeared to be a seemingly innocent sickness turned into a toddler's battle with brain cancer.
Community members now are stepping up to help out the Trumbo family with the mounting medical expenses for their young son.
It all started for the family at the end of June, around Ryder's second birthday. He started getting sick every morning when he woke up.
Already a busy mother of three with another one on the way, Nikki Trumbo focused her energy into doing whatever it took to help her youngest child feel better.
Thinking it was acid reflux, Nikki tried different medications and an adjusted diet to try and ease Ryder's pain.
Just a week later, Nikki and her husband, Bryan, noticed more changes in their son.
Around the Fourth of July, Ryder had become very clumsy and stumbled when he walked.
"The day we really noticed it, we were at the beach, thinking the sand played a big part," Nikki said.
However, his clumsiness continued to worsen until Ryder wouldn't walk at all. The 2-year-old had reverted back to crawling.
The worried family started to believe that something more serious was going on.
Nikki and Bryan took their little boy to their doctor. He had blood tests done and scheduled an MRI.
However, before that MRI could be performed, a small accident with his sister sped the process along.
The already wobbly toddler was bumped into, causing him to fall. When Nikki picked Ryder up, his eyes rolled back.
The Trumbos called the doctor and the family was told to head to the emergency room.
A CT scan showed something no parent wants to see: Ryder had a large mass in the cerebellum of his brain.
The family learned that their 2-year-old boy had a tumor the size of a lime. He would have to have brain surgery.
"Since the surgery, things have gotten tough," Nikki said.
Ryder had a seizure just four days after the five-hour procedure. He was on a ventilator and eventually had to get a trach tube put in.
On Aug. 1, the Trumbo family was hit with another major blow.
It was discovered that Ryder had medulloblastoma, meaning his tumor was cancerous.
The bad news didn't stop there.
Ryder had an infection, which required a new drainage tube to be put into his head, a blood transfusion and even more medications.
The infection is now gone, but the toddler is facing long-term damage.
"Ryder lost all control of his motor skills," Nikki said. "He will have to relearn how to chew, swallow, talk, sit, walk ... pretty much everything. That's if he is able to again."
Ryder just had what the family is hoping was his last surgery and plans are being made for chemotherapy.
Even through all of the stress, confusion and pain, the family has managed to stay stronger than ever.
"The older kids are really understanding of the whole situation, but are missing us and their brother so much," Nikki said. "My family has been a huge help with them; especially my older brother and his fiance who have been caring for our two older children since this all happened."
The older kids are staying with family closer to Toledo and their oldest son has even been enrolled into the Toledo school system.
"We have a very long road ahead of us," Nikki said. "I'm trying my best to stay as strong as I can for Ryder. Ryder is a fighter and we are not giving up."
The family has continued to grow.
Nikki gave birth to her fourth child on Oct. 1.
Family and friends are doing their part to help the family on their journey.
A GoFundMe page was started to help with expenses, as well as multiple fundraising events in the community.
On Oct.13, a poker run will be held at Shelluke's Bar and Grill.
Nikki's sister is also hosting a Scentsy fundraiser in support.
To keep up with Ryder and his family's journey, you can join the Ryder's Story and Battle public Facebook group.