More than a month after the Sutherland Springs shooting inside a church that left 26 people dead, only one patient remains at University Hospital -- 5-year-old Ryland Ward, who amazingly survived after being shot five times.
“For a while, they were worried he might lose his arm, then they were worried he might lose his kidney, just the ones that mainly went into his stomach did a lot of internal damage,” said Ryland’s grandmother Sandy Ward.
Ryland is easily one of the toughest 5-year-olds you will ever meet.
“One of the EMTs came by and talked to his dad and my husband and he said, the only reason they got Ryland out of that mess, was that he (Ryland) reached out from underneath his stepmother and sisters and grabbed the guys (EMT) leg as he walked by. Because they didn't think there was anybody alive in there,” said Sandy.
The physical wounds are only half the problem. Ryland’s mom and two sisters were killed and his grandma said, so far he doesn’t know.
“Oh yeah, he’s asked for his mom. He’s not asking as much anymore, but yeah he’s smart, I’m sure he’ll figure it out. They’re going to have to tell him pretty soon,” said Sandy.
is a very active boy and is tired of being confined to his hospital bed, which is where he will spend Christmas and likely his birthday just a couple of weeks after that. Wanting to buy a Go-Kart when he gets out of the hospital, Sandy came up with the idea of having people send Ryland RylandIf all of that isn’t enough, get well or Christmas cards with a one dollar bill inside. The idea started on Facebook and the response has been overwhelming.
“It takes his mind off the day-to-day. Every day it’s different cards, different people, and he likes looking at them and he likes seeing them. It just gives him something to look at every day than four hospital walls,” said Sandy.
And it’s not just Ryland, they’re also asking people to send cards to Ryland’s friend, 6-year-old Zoe Braden, who was also shot multiple times.
“The thing that worries about her is she has PTSD really bad and she can't stand being in crowds,” Said Sandy.
People have offered to do so much more for both kids, but Sandy says it’s not about the money, it’s about the love and prayers.
“They’ll never know what it means to my family, what these people are doing by sending these cards, praying for him. To me the prayers are the most important thing because that’s how he’s going to get healed,” said Sandy.
If you would like to send a card you can send them to:
Ryland Ward, P.O. Box 174, Sutherland Springs, TX 78161
Zoe Braden, P.O. Box 174, Sutherland Springs, TX 78161