RYAN LAMANTIA ( 1999-2005)
This organization was formed in memory of Ryan Lamantia, a 6 year-old superhero who passed away on September 8, 2005 due to a brain tumor called Medulloblastoma. Ryan was a special child who loved superhero's and loved being a superhero. He idolized Spiderman and the color red. He thought he could spin webs and swing from building to building in search of a distressed person. During his hospital stays he would put all the doctors and nurses in the web. He soon became known as Spidey, the little kid with so much fight for life. To keep his memory and legacy alive, the Ryan Lamantia was started. Ryan's smile would melt your heart, his laugh was contagious and his heart was full of love.
Ryan was diagnosed at age 3 1/2 years. Initially he complained of headaches and vomiting. We took him to the pediatrician, who said he had a bout of the stomach flu. A week later we took him in for a cat scan and they diagnosed him with sinusitis. Then on February 5, 2003 we took him to the hospital for an MRI. It turned out to be the worst day of our lives. The neurosurgeon came in and said your son has a brain tumor, stage IV. The news got worse as we sat by his side in the ICU for over 12 days. They said he had a sugar coating of cancer all over his brain and all the way down his spine. The Oncologist said once it hits the spine, it is really hard to get rid of. The day after he was diagnosed, he had surgery to remove the tumor. The surgery was to last at least 6 hours, 3 hours later the surgeon came out and showed us a picture of his tumor and said it was small enough that maybe the radiation could get rid of it. The pressure in his head was still causing his headaches. They had to put a shunt in to relieve the pressure. During the surgery, Ryan suffered a stroke. He was paralyzed on his right side. That didn't stop this superhero, within weeks he was able to walk and put people in a web. He endured radiation and chemo day in and day out for 6 weeks straight. Another MRI revealed he had a few spots left, but most of it was gone. For 6 months, he underwent chemo to get rid of this horrible disease, but it was taking a toll on his small little body. He was having seizures ( a side affect of the medicine) and he almost died twice right after treatments. Ryan's sodium level wasn't balanced and had to be monitored during treatments. He also developed hypothyroidism, learning disabilities from radiation & hearing loss. After his 5th dose of chemo, his spots were not evident on the MRI. In December, we went on his make a wish trip to Disneyworld. It was the most amazing experience we ever had.
In February of 2004, Ryan endured another stroke. This time it was caused by the effects of the radiation. A few weeks later, we learned his cancer had returned. He underwent many treatments that year, which helped slow down the cancer from spreading. The day after Christmas, Ryan returned to the emergency room for a really bad infection in his port. After that was cleared, he was scheduled to have 2 back to back high dose chemo treatments with stem cell rescues. During the beginning of his treatment, Ryan turned blue and his blood pressure dropped. He was rushed into the ICU, where they stabilized him and 10 days later he returned to the 4th floor to receive his stem cells. He was put on an IV pain medication due to stomach problems. We decided to stop anymore high dose treatments, we didn't want to see him in such horrible pain and misery and we did not think it was fair to him. After the stem cells took and he was not in anymore pain, they released us to the Kohl's house. A place for us to live for the next few weeks to a month until Ryan's immune system started to come back. Being in bed for so long, Ryan struggled with being able to walk or put pressure on his legs. While at the Kohl's house, in a small confined room with 2 twin beds and a bathroom, we helped Ryan regain his strength. Of course, he had the determination and motivation to be independent again without our help. We were told he needed to be in a dust free environment for 100 days, the length it could take for his immune system to start coming back. On February 11, after mom spent 3 days sanitizing our home, Ryan finally came home and was able to play with all his Christmas toys.
An MRI revealed the cancer was still there after everything he went through. Ryan started a new chemo in a pill form, but this didn't seem to be working. After another MRI in May and the results getting worse, we packed our car and took Ryan back to the place he talked about for a year, DISNEYWORLD and UNIVERSAL STUDIOS! During our stay, his seizures progressively got worse. We were still determined to have the best last family vacation on earth. Ryan got to meet Spiderman and eat breakfast with him. This is a day his parents will never forget, the smile on his face, the happiness in his eyes, he never left his side. Spidey was very understanding and good with Ryan. After lunch all Ryan wanted to due was to find Spiderman and help him get the green goblin, like he said he would during breakfast. Off we went on our hunt to find Spiderman! Ryan's first trip to Florida with the make-a-wish foundation, in the very spot we were standing for the second trip, Ryan said mom this is were I hit the green goblin with my stick. And with my memory jolting back, we had bought Ryan a glow stick and that evening at Universal they had the superhero's and bad guys come out for a duo. Well needless to say when we caught glimpse of the green goblin I rolled Ryan in the stroller up to the green goblin. Not realizing or paying attention to Ryan's reaction, but trying to get closer, he started hitting the green goblin with his stick from behind. Well once the green goblin turned around and looked at him, I quickly had to get Ryan away, as he started to cry. This time he wanted to take him on in a team effort with Spidey. Spiderman was no where to be found, so we tried to distract him with other hero's. That worked for a while. At the end of the day, he was so worn out, the word spidey didn't come out. On our way home, Ryan's seizures were happening every 1/2 hour or less. We called the hospital and they told us to bring him in. Once we arrived, we hesitated, we knew deep down what they were going to say. We waited till the next morning so Ryan could get some rest.
Another MRI revealed our worst nightmare, the cancer was spreading and there was not much more we could do, they gave him days to weeks to live. His neurosurgeon said it was like the tumors just exploded, it was everywhere. We kept trying herbal pills and other pill forms of chemo, but nothing was working. He fought long and hard for 3 more months. Then on September 8, 2005 Ryan became an Angel. There is nothing more devastating then to see your child die right before your eyes and not being able to help them in any way, this is why we formed the Ryan Lamantia Foundation.
Light a candle for Ryan on his memorial website at
I have cancer. There isn't any explanation as to why I got sick.
All I know is God has a plan for each of us and for each plan there
is a purpose. Some of us know what our purpose in life is and others
will never find it. Then there are those like me who accomplish it
without ever realizing it.
My journey with cancer will not and has not been without purpose,
It is through my illness that I have helped doctors understand this
disease a little more so they may find a cure.
It is through my illness that I have opened the eyes to those around me
to how precious life really is. Something we all to often take
It is through my illness that some of those around me have realized
that life is too short to be afraid of our feelings. My cancer has
been beaten back by the power of love. It is the most powerful of
emotions, one not to be afraid of, but to be embraced. To be loved
by someone unconditionally and completely is to reach into your soul
and feel warmth.
It is through my illness that I have shown there is no guarantee for
the future--only dreams for it. Whether the future is just another
day or another 75 years, we should all dream big and live fully
It is through my illness that I have seen the strong cry, only to
find more strength.
It is through my illness that some of us who haven't talk to God
in a while have once again begun to pray.
It is through my illness that I have joined the hands of those
familiar to those of strangers, to form one long chain.
I have already accomplished so much in such a short amount of time
and each day I continue to touch the hearts of many.
That is my purpose