10-year-old cancer survivor gets a wish and heads to Yellowstone

Ten-year-old Ryder Klop (front right), brother Jayden (front left), mother Brittney and father AJ make a pit stop in Chubbuck as the family drives a RV from Twin Falls to Yellowstone on June 2. Ryder was diagnosed with Burkitt Lymphoma in August and has since beaten the disease.

CHUBBUCK — Last August, 10-year-old Ryder Klop fell from a high fence and landed flat on his stomach.

Under most circumstances, this type of fall could be a family’s worst nightmare. For the Klops, however, the fall was one of the family’s greatest blessings.

Immediately after the painful incident, Ryder did not want to go to the doctor, his mother Brittany Klop said. But after waking from a nap, crying in pain, Brittany couldn’t wait any longer and took Ryder to the doctor for a positron emission tomography or PET scan.

Brittany was told her son had a ruptured bowel and had to be transported by air ambulance to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. In Salt Lake City, the news got worse after a rushed operation.

The surgeon told Brittany that they had discovered a softball-sized tumor in his intestines.

It was determined to be cancer and Ryder was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma on August 10.

“This is one of the fastest growing tumors — also one of the deadliest,” Brittany told EastIdahoNews.com. “If you don’t catch it in time, it’s gone. I’ve heard it can grow 10 times in 18 hours. If he hadn’t fallen, we would have had no idea.”

Doctors then found a second, smaller tumor near Ryder’s bladder in later tests.

“We were devastated,” Brittany added. “We were devastated when we found out, and he wasn’t quite sure – it’s a lot to handle for a 10-year-old. We kept telling him, ‘There’s light at the end of the tunnel.’”

Ryder and his family made fortnightly trips to Salt Lake City for treatments. But they finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel when Ryder was declared cancer-free and allowed to sound the alarm on November 23.

Now, eight months after the bell rang and with the help of Make-A-Wish Idaho, Ryder and his family have traded the long drives to Salt Lake City for a much more comfortable trip to Yellowstone National Park in a rented RV.

The family vacation includes a fishing trip and is the grand marshal for the West Yellowstone, Montana 4th of July Parade.

The RV was reserved by Make-A-Wish Idaho through a third-party rental program — similar to Airbnb, but for RVs.

The family that owns the RV has been approached by Make-A-Wish to help. They don’t normally rent outside their Boise home area, but after hearing Ryder’s story, they drove their RV to Twin Falls and brought Ryder a Lego set.

Ryder, 10, poses with his newly completed Lego set, matching the RV he and his family will use as they trek through Yellowstone Park for six days. | Kalama Hines, EastIdahoNews.com

While not as flashy as a trip to Disneyland might have been (the park is still largely closed due to COVID-19), the all-expenses-paid fishing trip eventually became a much more viable option for the family.

“They’re going on a fishing trip,” said Julie Thomas, regional director of Make-A-Wish Idaho. “They go to the wolf show and they stop at Bear World.”

The family is currently traveling and Brittany plans to document the trip on her TikTok account using the hashtag “#RyderStrong”.

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