HEALTH

Ryan Darby, 8, fights cancer, raises money

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A year and a half ago, Ryan Darby was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The 8-year-old was treated at Georgetown University hospital, a stressful time for the family.

“Seeing your child in pain and not being able to take that away--is awful,” his mother Mollie said.

Having a child with cancer is tough enough without worrying about things like paying the mortgage and getting to and from treatment, so Bethesda family decided to help other families.

“Going through it's hard enough. The other pieces--if you can alleviate some of that burden for some families and let them focus on just trying to get their kid better--that's what we're trying to do,” Ryan’s father Chris Darby said.

Their 'just tryan it" foundation has raised $150,000 in two years, mostly through the annual children's triathlon at Landon School. The funds help Georgetown hospital families pay mortgages and buy food.

“It helps the kids...and they get the water and the food and the transportation they need,” Ryan said.

The spunky 3rd grader raised $25,000 within five minutes this year doing the 'duggy' at the leukemia and lymphoma society gala.

That spirit helped him keep up his hopes during his battle with cancer.

“The parents and the doctors--they said I was going to make it and that just made me reach my goal,” he said. His doctors at Georgetown say his cancer has a 90 percent cure rate, so his prognosis is excellent.

Ryan’s other goal is to become a professional football player. He recently addressed members of Congress on Capitol Hill.

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