The memory of a Henderson teen is being kept alive tonight, thanks to members of our community.
The 13-year-old boy who recently died is being honored on this year’s 911 Gives Hope calendar.
“He always had the biggest smile on his face. He was always the happiest kid. He wanted to do everything he could to make everyone around him as happy as he possibly could be,” remembered Ryne Phillips’ mother Amy.
Ryne was just days away from his fourteenth birthday when he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. But his strength–and his legacy–is touching hearts across the Tri-State.
“He had a stroke at birth, and had cerebral palsy, so he couldn’t use his right hand very well. He could use it as a support, but he had no fine motor control. But he never let it slow him down,” his mother explained.
And his family is getting the help they need from the sales of the 911 Gives Hope calendar during an unimaginable time, emotionally and financially.
“We had absolutely no idea,” Amy said of the gesture. “We were so incredibly touched, because we had unforeseen expenses we couldn’t be prepared for.”
Ryne loved to build things–like his father–and was passionate about baseball.
“He loved playing on the Highland Challenger league. And he really enjoyed that on Sundays. Every Sunday–‘Mom, do I have baseball today?’ He was really disappointed in the off-seasons that he didn’t have baseball on Sundays.”
But his time on Earth came to an end much too soon one October night.
Ryne suffered seizures all his life as a result of his stroke from birth, and his family took him to the hospital on his most recent one like they had countless times before.
“They intubated him, which they had never done before. We still didn’t think a whole lot of it. The next morning we were discussing what we were going to do, because he still hadn’t woken up from the seizure. And as I’m standing there with the doctor, he coded. Right in front of us,” his mother said.
His death–leaving his family struggling to understand what happened, and finding ways to help his younger brother Paxton through:
“Ryne had a Cubs sweatshirt that he wore. I took that sweatshirt and had her make an elephant out of that sweatshirt. It’s got Ryne’s name and his dates on the other paw. Paxton sleeps with that every night. He cherishes it. Holds it very close to his heart.”
And while Ryne’s parents work to make sure their family is supported, the community–from Evansville to Owensboro and beyond–is making sure they have what they need as well.
Funds raised from the $15 calendars go to the Phillips family–
“It’s a great feeling knowing you’re benefiting a local family,” said Corey Elven, who works with the Evansville Firefighters Federal Credit Union that sells the calendars.
–and help to keep Ryne’s memory alive.
“There are a thousand things I could say about him. None of them seem adequate. He was one in a million. I was lucky I got to be his mom,” said Amy.
If you’re interested in getting a calendar–where 100% of the proceeds go toward the family–they’re available at Evansville Firefighters Federal Credit Union
They’re also available online here.