A young Alberta boy who has been cared for at Stollery Children’s Hospital since he was a baby is paying it forward.
Ryland Nobal, 10, who was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when he was just six weeks old, has been chosen by Nitza’s Pizzas to be this year’s ‘Kid Stollery’.
Each year, Sherwood Park Restaurant chooses a Stollery family to support. The store, run by owner Peter Giannakopoulos, hosts fundraisers like raffles and golf tournaments to help families pay medical bills and other expenses.
When Ryland and Peter met, they quickly became friends. Katrina, Ryland’s mother, said Peter took her son under his wing.
“He has the biggest and kindest heart. And they became best friends for life. They connected instantly.
“He’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met in my life,” Peter said of Ryland. “Inspiration, energy, power. Every day he is with me, I learn so much.
On Monday, Nitza’s Pizzas was holding a raffle to raise funds.
“The most exciting thing, I think, is seeing everyone who comes in to do the draw,” Ryland said. “We are raffling a Glen Anderson jersey, a McDavid jersey and a Paul Coffey jersey. We make a signed puck, gloves and stick.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Stollery.
“Because they’ve saved my life like a million times,” Ryland said with a smile.
“It’s great that we’re raising money for the Stollery to help kids like me.”
When Ryland was a baby, his condition caused fluid to build up in his brain. He was put on a shunt – which he will need all his life – but there were complications: brain hemorrhages, seizures, weakness and partial paralysis.
“He’s had 11 surgeries…He’s been at the Stollery since he was six weeks old,” Katrina said.
“Having him involved in the community like this has given him so much motivation and determination to keep going. People accept it and it’s all for him to keep it going.
And so, the team wanted to share the goodwill. In addition to the Stollery, fundraisers will also support the Little Warriors.
“I’m so proud of Ry. He’s been successful way beyond anything in life…and that’s him,” Katrina said.
“He’s so driven, but also needs the community and people like Peter to help him keep going, and that encourages him to do better. I’m so proud.”
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