When crazed gunman Devin Kelley entered First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, multiple lives were taken in a matter of minutes. But despite losing both his stepmother and two sisters on that fateful day, five-year-old Ryland Ward miraculously survived after being shot five times.
Now, as he comes to terms with the devastating loss, he is asking for just one simple gift this Christmas – a card sent to his hospital bed.
The Texas boy’s grandmother, Sandy Ward, is rallying their community to make it happen, after seeing little Ryland’s face light up when he received a surprise gift recently. “You got so many nice people that are sending a card and a dollar to Ryland,” she told ABC affiliate KSAT on Tuesday. “He does really enjoy that a lot.”
The extended family is trying to figure out how to break such devastating news to such a young man. They are concerned that Ryland still does not fully understand that his close family members are gone.
“They still haven’t told [Ryland] yet that his mom and sisters are dead, but I’m sure he’s kind of getting some kind of idea because he’s 5,” Sandy explained.
Ryland’s stepmother, Joann, and her daughters, Brooke Ward, 5, and 7-year-old Emily Garza, were all shot dead in the horrific Nov. 5 attack. Ryland was shot once in the elbow, twice in the stomach and twice in the leg, but continues to make steady progress under the watchful eye of a team of medical professionals.
A GoFundMe page set up in support of Ryland recently posted an update on his medical condition:
“Ryland’s surgery today to put a stint in his kidney was a success. If it holds, it will remain in place 6 weeks. Please pray it holds and that he will not lose a kidney. This young warrior has many battles to overcome,” the statement read.
He remains in a very serious condition:
“Ryland’s femur bone is still separated and he will be in a wheel chair or wagon for months for mobility,” a statement earlier this month described. “Tummy has not healed … His hip and leg will still need additional surgeries and require screws, pins, plates and rods. He will remain in ICU until some of the tubes are removed.”
You can mail Christmas cards to Ryland at:
P.O. Box 174, Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161