July 31, 2014 1:08 am

Young Edmonton-area boy battling serious illness receives unexpected gift from complete strangers

Watch above: A Sherwood Park mother, who has watched her son endure live-long complications from a severe neurological condition, says she’s grateful for the actions of a group of complete strangers. In a grand gesture of paying it forward, community members rallied to make her 13-year-old son’s wish come true. Shallima Maharaj has more. 

EDMONTON – A 13-year-old Edmonton-area boy who suffers from a severe neurological disorder received a very special gift from a group of complete strangers Wednesday night.

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“My whole heart is just so overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these strangers that did all of this for my son,” said Kimberley Hauck, 13-year-old Ryan Hauck’s mother.

At seven months old, the Sherwood Park boy was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). The neurological condition causes the growth of tumours along nerves in the skin, brain and other parts of the body. It can also cause changes in skin pigmentation.

“Basically what it is, is his body can develop fibrous tumours anywhere in his body,” Kimberley explained.

When Ryan was a baby, doctors found an inoperable tumour on his optic nerve. Two years ago, they found two more brain tumours. He also has a mass of tumours under his collarbone. And in March, doctors found a tumour on Ryan’s spinal cord, which makes it difficult for him to walk.

“None of the tumours, as of right now, are operable,” said Kimberley. “He gets very severe headaches, he’s in constant pain, especially with his arm.”

About a month ago, thinking nothing of it, Kimberley posted a picture on Facebook of a wooden lawn chair designed to look just like ‘Mater,’ Ryan’s favourite character from the Pixar movie ‘Cars.’ Little did she know, someone was paying attention.

“Her caption was she really wanted it for her son, Ryan, and honestly… I haven’t met him before, but I knew from following her on Facebook that he’s had medical concerns,” said Joelle Weisback, who met Kimberley at a charity run last year.

“I thought what a great opportunity to do something special for someone else.”

Through Facebook, Joelle began reaching out to her friends and quickly had someone who donated a wooden lawn chair and a few others who offered to finish the wood and paint the chair.

And on Wednesday night, Kimberley held a party in Ryan’s honour where he received his customized ‘Mater’ chair.

Ryan Hauck’s customized ‘Mater’ chair.

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“It’s awesome!” said Ryan.

“He’s had a very rough go this past six months,” said Kimberly, “and to just watch that smile on his face just absolutely melts my heart.

Joelle says the act of kindness was the least she could do, and hopes others would have done the same thing.

“It’s really something anybody can do,” she said. “Do something bigger, take notice of somebody else and do something that really means something to someone.”

“I just saw something that my son would love,” Kimberley added. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would actually come to a reality.”

With files from Shallima, Maharaj.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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