The last Sutherland Springs shooting victim who remains at University Hospital continues to make progress in his recovery.
On Monday afternoon, 5-year-old Ryland Ward's family held a press conference to give an update on his condition and thank the community for the support. On November 5, Ryland was shot five times but survived his injuries. His step-mother, Joann, and two sisters were among the 26 killed.
"When he came out of anesthesia, one of his first comments is that he said, ‘A bad man shot Jojo and shot me.’ Jojo is his step mother, Joann. That was the only thing I've heard him say," said Earl McMahan, Ryland’s great uncle.
Ryland has already undergone multiple surgeries and skin grafts. McMahan said that the child is now in physical therapy and getting stronger.
"They're getting him where he can stand on his right leg. The first time he was up, he stood up for 39 seconds, a count to 39. Today, my niece told me he stood up for two minutes on that leg," McMahan said.
McMahan added that the gifts and Christmas cards have helped Ryland in his recovery. So far, they've received about 3,000 cards from strangers.
"He just loves receiving these cards. His face just lights up. He's got an awesome smile. Just seeing him smile makes everybody happy," McMahan said. "People have been just so generous. They've been sending a dollar or more. Any 5-year-old kid who gets card with money in it, they're in heaven, you know? They're thinking they're going to get gum or something. He enjoys it all."
McMahan said that they don't know if Ryland will make a full recovery. They're hoping to have him back home by the beginning of the new year just in time for his birthday on January 5. McMahan said that more Christmas cards are welcome but asks for more prayers.
"Prayers, especially, is greatly appreciated. We believe that Ryland has come far as he has because of prayer. There's been so many, not just in Texas, the United states, but around the world. People have been praying for him and others who has been involved," McMahan said.
If you would like to send a card, here is the address:
Ryland Ward, care of Corporate Communications,
4502 Medical Dr. MS 94-1
San Antonio, Texas 78229