Five-year-old Ryland Ward lost his stepmother, step-sister, and half-sister in the horrific church shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Of family members present with him, only his sister, survived.
Ryan was shot five times, but miraculously survived, and received treatment at University Hospital in San Antonio. He was shot once in the elbow, twice in the stomach and twice in the leg.
A GoFundMe setup by a family member has raised over $150,000 (as of writing) of its $200,000 goal. The GoFundMe has provided updates throughout Ryland’s many surgeries, with the most recent reading “Tube Is out!! Thursday they will take rod off his leg no need for sugery its healing on its own!!! Praise god!!!” He has a brace on his leg with screws and pins from his hip down to his femur.
Ryland’s grandmother told KSAT-TV (a local San Antonio based network) that he wants Christmas cards this holiday season, “with a dollar inside.” He’s already recieved between 2,000-3,000, according to KSAT-TV. Ryland’s great-uncle Earl McMahan told the network “I brought him a couple cards the other day and I had a bag that had a little gift in it and he looked at it real quick and he wanted the cards,” Earl said. “He just loves tearing into them and reading them.”
Ryland’s family was saving the money in the cards to buy him a go kart, but on Monday Earl said he was informed someone had already purchased him the go kart. Earl said like any 5-year-old, Ryland gets excited about the dollar bills he receives in the cards.
While initial reports suggested Ryland wasn’t aware of what happened to his step mother and siblings, Earl said he woke up after surgery and said, “Bad man shot JoJo and shot me.” Ryland called his step mom “JoJo.”
Cards for the boy may be sent to:
P.O. Box 174
Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161