Toy Drive

November 30, 2007

I want to do the toy drive I have done for the past 4 years for Metro Hospital.  The only difference is with Brenda not having her store I don't have a local drop off point anymore. 

If any friends and family would still like to contribute I will be collecting toys/donations until December 15th so I can get them to the hospital by the 17th.

Here is the flyer I'm sending out

4th Annual Metro Hospital Toy Drive in Memory of Ryan K. Zarlengaclip_image002111_1.jpg
12/7/87 –02/23/93
This will be our 4th year doing the toy drive for Metro Hospital in memory of Ryan. This year Ryan would be 20 years old, but we will forever know him as the happy 5 year old boy that he was.
Last years toy drive was such a success. It took 3 vans filled to get everything to Metro Hospital. With the help of the Pediatric unit staff and the group of volunteers who drove down with me we unloaded all the toys to take up to the PICU.
We hope to make this year’s toy drive as big a success.
Checks can be made payable to
Child life Foundation Metro Health
Some of the things suggested from the PICU staff have been: Crayons, markers, art sets, batteries, lip smackers, teen hair products for boys and girls, toys that light up and or make musical sounds, adolescent games, music CD’s and toys that can be used while in bed.
We will be collecting toys until December 15th
See Ryan’s story on back

Ryan's story

I'll tell you about my son Ryan. He was a perfectly normal 5 year old who had the flu - then it made it's way through the rest of the family. Although he was feeling better, I kept him home from preschool on Thursday giving him the weekend to recuperate. Saturday afternoon he was acting odd. (Just staring and sleeping on and off throughout the day), we just thought it was part of the recovery from the flu.

By Sunday night we were concerned. Ryan would just stare off into space while I was talking to him. This never happened, he was a always a good boy. We asked him to count or say his ABC's which he always loved to do. He kept trying, but couldn't and the tears rushed down his face (as they are mine right now). He didn't want to go to the hospital but we took him anyway.

After several hours at the hospital they arrived home. The hospital just said it was an ear infection. Ryan got a drink of water and asked if he could lie down out on the couch, I agreed and stayed out with him. During the night Ryan woke up and got sick and then fell back asleep....

Ryan never spoke again. That morning when I woke up I went to get him - he was lying on the couch shaking. I called 911 -They returned Ryan to that same hospital which released him the night before and began running tests on him. I remember him lying in that hospital bed and a single tear went down the side of his face... I still wonder about that tear.

They then life-flighted him to Metro Hospital and found he had encephalitis - (swelling of the brain), from an unknown cause? It was February and very cold. They said the virus had to run its course and it would take a couple weeks till Ryan would be better.

That night Joel and I slept at the hospital and in the middle of the night they woke us to tell us Ryan had taken a turn for the worse... His body began shutting down.

The next morning they ran and EKG and found he had no brain waves, because of the virus and rapid swelling, but they would continuing testing. They took Joel and I into another room to explain to us that Ryan wasn’t going to make it. I think Joel was ready to go across the table and I ran out of the room. It all happened so quickly.

All our family arrived at the hospital as they continued running tests. I remember hearing a noise as I walked up the halls of the hospital. It was someone crying and I didn’t recognize the voice, suddenly I realized that sobbing sound was my father.   Of all the things he could help me with, this was beyond his control. Still today I can hear that sobbing sound in my head and it brings me to tears.

Ryan's brain was swelling faster than they could control, until finally his small body gave up.

That was at 3pm on February 23, 1993

They unhooked him from all the machines and laid him in my arms as we all said goodbye.

Although Ryan didn’t survive, the staff at Metro Hospital was the best that anyone could ask for and I will always be grateful to them.

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