Gamin' 4 Aven

This is the third year that Ryan Ritter is playing games for kids at Children’s Hospital.  Ryan is committed to raising money in order for our Children’s Hospital to continue to do research for cures and better treatments for Oklahoma’s sick and injured kids.

Here is his story in his own words:

I’d like to introduce you to Aven. The firstborn son of family friends (my wife’s college roommate, in fact), Aven has had a massive impact on my life and I never had the pleasure of meeting him face-to-face.

That’s because Aven lost his battle with Leukemia in the fall of 2015.

My wife was able to meet this strong young man and Bob Stoops hero while she was pregnant with our own firstborn son. She went to help her old roommate out for a few days. While I didn’t have the flexibility to travel, I did what I could to help as well. The Savin’ Aven Benefit was launched and I did everything that I could to promote it through a Notre Dame Football website that I run, HerLoyalSons.com. This effort raised more than $10,000 dollars for Aven’s family.

There are no words to describe how it felt to sit in a funeral home, your own perfectly healthy infant son only a couple hour drive away, while watching Aven’s parents deal with the most devastating heartbreak in the world. It wasn’t fair. Aven had just had a very positive diagnosis a couple months prior. He was winning his fight and now he lost.

Fast forward to the fall of 2016, I was listening to one of my favorite video game podcasts, Limit Break Radio, while traveling for work. Extra Life’s 2016 Game Day was rapidly approaching and they were promoting their efforts. I’ve long known about Extra Life, as well as their efforts since the very infancy of Extra Life itself.

But for some reason, on this day, loads of thoughts flooded back into my head. As they discussed their Game Day planning, my mind went to Aven. At the drop of a hat, I went to bat for him, using every bit of my little online platform to help raise money for him. One year later, while midair on a flight back home, I decided that I needed to get back off the sidelines once again.

When I got home, I explained Extra Life to my wife. With no planning, I was prepared to play video games for 24 hours in honor of Aven to raise money for the same hospitals that gave him care during his fight. I raised $856 dollars in this effort, just short of my $1,000 goal. I focused in on planning efforts for my 2017 Game Day and ended with $2,000. This year, I’m shooting for $4,000 and streaming throughout the fall in addition to Game Day.

Aven may have lost his fight, but I am determined that his memory will live on. That my efforts in Extra Life may just be the thing that allows the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Oklahoma City save another family from the unimaginable pain and heartbreak of losing their child.

It doesn’t matter that Children’s Hospital Foundation is in Oklahoma City, more than 200 miles away from me. It doesn’t matter that the previous fundraising efforts didn’t save Aven. It doesn’t matter that the only smile I got to see from Aven was via photos.

What does matter is that I am making a difference. What does matter is that every year Aven’s family gets to see the impact that their son not only has had on me, but on everyone that hears his story and donates in his honor.

For the kids. For Aven.

 

Sincerely,

Ryan Ritter
Gamin’ 4 Aven

 

 

 

 

 

 

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