DUARTE (CBSLA.com) — Ryan Compton loves riding his scooter around the fountain of City of Hope.
A bone marrow transplant a few months ago made all of this possible. Compton, now 8, was fighting an aggressive form of leukemia.
CBS2’s Kristine Lazar spoke to Ryan and his parents and said watching him race around the fountain is a stark contrast to how his life was just three years ago — Ryan was in the hospital hooked up to tubes and machines and confined to a hospital bed.
Moreover, his prognosis was not good.
“It was a different way of living,” says his mom, Maggie, “You live moment to moment. You can’t think about how is it going to be tomorrow or five years from now. Is he going to be here next week?”
His parents were told that Ryan needed a bone marrow transplant and time was running out.
A match was found for Ryan at the 11th hour. A donor was found who lived in England.
Ryan and his donor, 34-year-old Barry Crockett, had an emotional meeting this past May after Crockett saved Compton’s life.
“The operation saved his life. It gave Ryan a second chance at life,” recalls Maggie, “it also gave him a chance to be a little boy. It also gave our family a second chance at life because without Ryan our life would just be completely different right now.”
The Comptons are grateful to ThinkCure! The non-profit helps raise money for cancer research.
“We come to work every day thinking cure,” says Dr. Stephen Forman, one of the founders of ThinkCure!
“Anybody ever cured of cancer can thank the scientists and clinicians who did the work, that led to the therapy that led to the treatment that led to their return to their home, their family and their work, their life,” says Dr. Forman.
It’s a reality not lost on Ryan’s parents, reports Lazar. They know they are among the lucky ones.
“It is the most heartbreaking experience. It’s even more heartbreaking to me, to have friends that no longer have their children with them,” says Maggie.
Ryan is not out of the woods just yet — because of all the radiation he received in treatment, he is more susceptible to other forms of cancer.
His family says they will continue to push for a cure.
ThinkCure! Weekend starts Friday at Dodger Stadium.