Late last year, we introduced you to Stryder Doescher, a little Prineville boy with a rare form of epilepsy, and Wednesday he got to go on a very special lunch date with some firefighters.
Six-year-old Stryder has all the basics down, but his health issues are not so basic.
“The kink in the brain stem is really what the issue is here," said Stryder's mother, Angela. "His is pretty critical -- it’s past the critical point. He has a bone in there that is also facing backward, which is facing the brain stem.”
But on this day, you wouldn’t know he’s any different, as Crook County Fire Chief, Matt Smith put it: “He’s just your normal 5- or 6-year-old kindergartener.”
Recently, he was given a new best friend -- man’s best friend -- a dog named Keebler.
Stryder told us he enjoys cuddling him, taking naps with him, and teaching him tricks. Keebler is a service dog who can detect seizures, and he protects Stryder from harm when they are happening.
Asked, "Do you think he’s your best friend?," Stryder replied, "Yeah.”
Recently, the Doeschers got some more tough news.
“They decided to do an MRI on his brain and his spine, and, of course, that’s affected as well,” said Angela.
In short, Stryder needs brain surgery -- and he needs it soon.
As a mother, Angela struggles with the situation: “I have my good days and bad days. I cry, but if I cry, I can’t fix it.”
In order to fix it, Stryder needs special surgery all the way in New York. But on this day, he put his troubles aside, and got to go for a little joyride with firefighters.
“We just like to support him, and we understand he likes the fire station, so we’re happy to have him,” said Smith.
Don’t be fooled by his quiet demeanor -- Stryder is happy to be there, with Keebler by his side.
He wants to be a firefighter one day.
There is a "Golf for Stryder" event coming up next weekend to help pay for his trip to New York. That will take place at Meadow Lakes Golf Course on Saturday, June 28th and it is $300 per team.
If you want to play, contact Meadow Lakes at 541-447-7640.
You can also visit www.StrydersStory.com for his updates and other ways to donate.