Warriors create community

I have a 7 year-old son, Brendan, with a progressive, ultimately fatal disease. We found out back on 12/12/12 and since that time Brendan has been stable, however, not without its set of challenges.  He has a rare disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension which causes not only his life expectancy to be drastically reduced but daily limitations.  One of the limitations he faces is the fact that he is not allowed to exert himself, whether it be in PE at school or playing team sports in a competitive league or even walking too many stairs without taking a break. Telling a 7-year-old boy to be still and not run and play tag or play sports he loves is quite difficult and we have tried to let him lead as normal life as possible.

This winter my parents met the grandparents of one of the Warriors, #6 – Rylan Yaremko.  He is from Grand Prairie and is honestly one of the nicest kids I’ve ever met; he plays with my kids, finds ways to make their lives better and welcomes them with open arms and a huge smile whenever he sees them and if they had it their way, he’d live with us forever.  This summer after meeting Rylan, he offered to introduce Brendan and Kaylene (our daughter) to the team and since then, we have gone to various home games and Brendan now gets to help during the second intermission of every home game we can attend.  

A couple weeks ago, I gave Rylan a Pulmonary Hypertension wristband with the words “Phenomenal Hope” on them as that is one of the ways we spread awareness of the disease.  Within minutes of wearing his wristband in the dressing room Rylan asked for wristbands for the entire team, they all wanted to wear them.  For that to come from a group of teenage boys, to me, was inspiring and heartwarming.  Not only does Brendan beam ear-to-ear when he sees the guys wearing their wristbands but it warms my heart to see them engage this 7 year old boy who has dreams beyond comprehension to play a sport he will never be allowed to.  We also got the opportunity to skate with the team after a Sunday afternoon game and to see these boys take the little ones who can barely skate around the ice, play tag with the more advanced skaters and even put the kids in the penalty box after ‘fights’ was so fun to watch.  Smiles were all around the ice.  

The kids on the Warriors are great group with amazing hearts and I’d love to share this to show that there are some great teenagers out there who deserve recognition for changing the lives of the next generation! 

Kristine Ritchie

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